Stepfather denies murder; Mother screams, charges defense tableFebruary 24,2014
By Brent Curtis
A Poultney man charged with the murder of his 2-year-old stepdaughter denied the offense and was ordered jailed on $250,000 bail Monday.
Dennis Duby, 31, faces 20 years to life behind bars for the killing of Dezirae Sheldon who Vermont State Police investigators say died from skull fractures inflicted by blunt force trauma.
Duby told investigators that he believed the child had fallen off a table and said he'd seen her fall from a toilet and a sink on the afternoon of Feb. 19. But an autopsy of the little girl showed that she had fractures to either side of her head.
"It appeared that someone held her head so tight her skull cracked," a doctor who treated Dezirae at Rutland Regional Medical Center told investigators.
Chaos erupted at the end of Duby's arraignment as his wife - the girl's biological mother, Sandra Eastman - charged the defense table screaming "What did you do to my (expletive) baby."
She was intercepted before she reached Duby by Rutland County Sheriff's Deputies who were at the hearing in strength due to the large number of angry family members and supporters who filled the Rutland criminal courtroom to capacity.
An hour before the arraignment, protesters gathered outside the state Department for Children and Families office in Rutland's Asa Bloomer Building, where they railed against that agency's decision to return Dezirae to her mother after Eastman was convicted in July of abusing her daughter.
DCF Commissioner Dave Yacovone, who came to Rutland on Monday and spoke with the family of her biological father, said his agency would perform both an internal and external investigation into the circumstances of the toddler's case.MORE IN This Just In
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: On Jan. 31, 2002, Berkshire Armored Car Co. in Rutland's Howe Center was robbed of $1.9 million. Brent Curtis reports some of the surprising details he found in 10 years of FBI investigation files in a 5-part Herald series.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1835, deranged house painter attempts to kill Pres. Andrew Jackson; in 1969, Beatles play last live public performance on roof of Apple Corps building, London; in 1935, poet Richard Brautigan born in Tacoma, Washington.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Maple syrup standards revised to match international standards; city must decide how best to use $300K in leftover sewer project money; Bryanna Allen reports on funding proposal for solar projects; local agency gets HUD money.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1393, quick thinking teen girl saves King Charles IV of France from burning alive at masquerade ball; in 1760, Vermont town of Pownal created by N.H. Gov. Benning Wentworth; Canuplin, Filipino movie star, born.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day, 1700, Cascadia Earthquake, Magnitude 9 plus, strikes West Coast with tsunami effects felt as far away as Japan; in 1885, troops loyal to Sudanese Mohammad Ahmad conquer Khartoum; in 1992, Boris Yeltsin untargets U.S.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 971 AD, Southern Han war elephant corps defeated by Song Dynasty troops bowmen; in 1870, Montana, Marias massacre, U.S. kills 173 Native Americans; in 1941, Charles Lindbergh recommends neutrality pact with Nazis.