Family files suit over neighbor’s guns
By Josh O’Gorman
CHITTENDEN — An attorney representing a local family who have had a series of confrontations with their neighbor is looking for a way to take away the neighbor’s guns.
Attorney William Meub has filed a lawsuit in Rutland civil court on behalf of Christopher M. Clark against Clark’s neighbor, Glenn H. Delpha Sr., seeking unspecified damages. The dispute between
Delpha and the Clark family did not begin in civil court, but in criminal court following a series of escalating incidents this past winter.
On Christmas Eve, according to records filed in Rutland criminal court, state police responded to Ice Pond Road, which is shared by both Clark and Delpha. Affidavits state Delpha had blocked Clark’s vehicle in another neighbor’s driveway and was preventing Clark from leaving.
Affidavits also state Delpha struck Clark’s vehicle multiple times with a shovel. According to police, Delpha told police he owns Ice Pond Road and Clark was trespassing.
Police returned for a second conflict in January for a standoff between Delpha and Clark after Delpha prevented Clark’s family from visiting him, claiming Clark was the only person allowed to use the road, records state.
For the two incidents, Delpha was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and a single count of unlawful mischief, but those charges were dismissed last week in Rutland criminal court after Judge Theresa S. DiMauro found Delpha was not competent to stand trial.
“My clients have abandoned their home,” Meub said. “They’re not out there because the system will not protect them.”
The Clarks have since rented a home in Proctor, Meub said.
“This lawsuit is not about money. It’s about how the system is not protecting people,” Meub said. “Glenn Delpha was charged with a violent crime. He has threatened people in the past, but because he is mentally incompetent to stand trial, he has no criminal record.”
And because Delpha has no criminal record, Meub said, the criminal court lacks the authority to take away his guns. His clients have a no-stalking order against Delpha, but Meub would like to see a change in the law to prevent further escalation of violence.
“We need a law that would permit state police to take away his guns and prevent him from buying any more,” Meub said. “In light of the Naval attack, and all of the other attacks, this is something we need to bring to light.”
While Delpha was declared incompetent to stand trial, he has not been found incompetent by the state, meaning the state currently has no authority to take away his guns.
And while he was declared incompetent to stand trial in criminal court, he is competent enough to represent himself in civil court.
Repeated attempts to reach Delpha by telephone were not successful.