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
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Seals have figured out fish they like to eat gather in schools around turbines in offshore wind farms. But the environment is not without hazards, maintenance vessels and noise pollution.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears on this day in 1975, on this day in 2003, the last Volkswagen Type I, the Beetle, rolls off the assembly line in Mexico, Nelson Mandela on the primacy of teaching love over hate.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Yankee announces final day of nuclear power generation in Vermont, storm brings floods back to Chester, Castleton town manager to resign office, chronic offender sentenced to 25 years for sexual assault.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Archaeologists find a leather shoe in a cave in Armenia that predates the Pyramids by more than a thousand years.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1932, President Hoover orders the Army to evict bonus marchers from Anacostia Flats; author Malcolm Lowry born this day, as is Jackie Kennedy and Mike Bloomfield; Stephen Crane on consuming one's own heart.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Earth barely avoids being blasted by immense solar flare in 2012, astrophysicists say next time might not be so lucky.