Anila Lawrence Crime and Justice Steven Bourgoin

Bourgoin’s ex-girlfriend tells jury of past violence, increasing mood swings before crash

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Anila Lawrence breaks down as she describes the day that Steven Bourgoin assaulted her in their house and then advised her to go away with their infant daughter. Pool photograph by Ryan Mercer.

BURLINGTON – The ex-girlfriend of the person charged with killing five youngsters in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 89 took the witness stand Friday, recounting Steven Bourgoin’s episodes of violence and increasing mood swings.

Anila Lawrence, shaking, wanting towards to the bottom together with her lengthy, dark hair down over her face, seemed to be making an attempt to avoid making eye contact with anybody in the Burlington courtroom, together with Bourgoin, who sat at a protection table about 40 ft away.

Lawrence was the first witness referred to as by the the defense because it started presenting its case Friday, the fifth day of the Bourgoin’s trial stemming from the late-night Oct. 8, 2016, crash that killed the Central Vermont youths.

Robert Katims, Bourgoin’s lawyer, had argued throughout his opening statement to the jury Monday that his shopper was “legally insane” on the time of the crash.

Lawrence advised the jury that her relationship with Bourgoin started in 2008 and all went properly for some time as they lived in Williston.

Then, when she came upon she was pregnant, and after the kid was born, Lawrence testified, Bourgoin’s mood swings increased, as did his complaints about his job and money.

“He would just get really frustrated with finances and stuff and get angry about it,” she testified.

“How about his mood?” Katims asked.

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“It fluctuated,” Lawrence replied.

“Did he have mood swings?” Katims requested.

“Yes,” she responded.

“Things you haven’t seen before,” the protection lawyer stated to her.

“Yes,” Lawrence stated.

Later, she stated, their physician had recommended that Bourgoin take anti-depressants.

“At the time he just didn’t want to take any prescription medication like that,” Lawrence testified. “He’s lost friends and stuff to drug overdoses and such and did not want to ever be addicted to anything like that.”

Twice, she stated, Bourgoin had been charged with assaulting her, as soon as once they have been dwelling Massachusetts in 2014, and then later in Might 2016 once they moved back to Williston.

When questioned Friday for the primary time concerning the violence, she shook and took an extended pause before responding.

She informed the jury that in the Might 2016 incident Bourgoin had grow to be enraged over cash struggles and their relationship, together with custody of the child.

Lawrence testified that Bourgoin struck and pushed her, and then as she tried to get away, he jumped behind the wheel of the car and drove off together with her and the kid in the back seat.

As they traveled by means of nearby towns, she testified, he threatened to drive into a pond and kill all of them until she agreed to shared, 50-50, custody of the child with him, and he was screaming about finances.

Lawrence recalled Friday that she advised him she would comply with the shared youngster custody, considering it was the only approach she and the child would safely get house.

That appeared to calm Bourgoin down, and he drove all of them again to the Williston residence, Lawrence testified. When he went to take a bathe, Lawrence stated, she took her daughter, acquired in the automotive, and left the residence, going to the police to report the incident.

Bourgoin was charged with home assault and illegal restraint.

After obtaining a restraining order, Bourgoin might not possess firearms, which, in line with Lawrence’s testimony Friday, included an AR-15 rifle and 9mm Glock handgun.

The prosecution rested its case on Thursday, following four days of testimony that included cops who responded to the Oct. 6, 2016, crash scene on the interstate in Williston, motorists who drove up on the location, and crash reconstruction specialists.

Katims, as part of the defense case, is predicted next week to name an professional hired by the defense, as well as one employed by the prosecution, who have determined that Bourgoin was legally insane at the time of the crash.

The defense lawyer has advised the jury that Bourgoin had been spending extra time online, and believed he was receiving messages via the internet, his cellular phone and his car’s radio at the time leading as much as the crash.

At that time, the defense lawyer stated, Bourgoin developed delusions that he was on authorities mission.

Lawrence testified Friday in the course of the 2013 to 2016 time interval Bourgoin was lively looking on the internet, with a specific interest in history.

When requested by Katims if Bourgoin had taken her to any of the places he was looking on-line, Lawrence testified that he had.

“Yes,” she stated, “to an abandoned missile silo in Alburgh, Vermont.”

Chittenden County Deputy State’s Lawyer Susan Hardin, a prosecutor, throughout cross-examination asked Lawrence if Bourgoin had ever talked to her about helicopters following him, or about him being on “some type” of mission.

“No,” Lawrence stated.

Prosecutors allege Bourgoin was behind the wheel of a 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup touring north within the southbound lane of the interstate when he drove, almost head-on into the 2004 Volkswagen Jetta with the 5 teens inside.

He slammed into the Jetta touring at 78 mph, witnesses testified in the case, killing all five teens.

On the scene, witnesses stated, he then stole the cruiser of the primary responding officer, fled south on the interstate, did a U-turn and then drove back to the scene, slamming his already closely broken Tacoma left there from the earlier crash.

The teenagers killed within the preliminary crash have been Mary Harris, 16, and Cyrus Zschau, 16, both of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury; and Janie Chase Cozzi, 15, of Fayston.

Steven Bourgoin takes notes in Vermont Superior Courtroom in Burlington on Friday. He faces second-degree murder costs within the deaths of 5 teens killed in a crash on I89 in 2016.

In accordance with data, toxicology testing revealed Bourgoin had a high degree of THC, the lively ingredient in marijuana, in his system about eight hours after the crash.

Prosecutors have painted a picture of the previous Williston man as in a rage over his work, finances, and a custody dispute with Lawrence. The day before the crash, Bourgoin had give up his warehouse job at Lake Champlain Goodies.

Additionally, following a family courtroom hearing in September in the youngster custody dispute, Bourgoin was given just one hour of supervised visitation every week, on Saturday mornings, with the kid.

Lawrence testified Friday that Bourgoin had stopped consuming alcohol in 2013, but had been nonetheless been using marijuana.

“How much marijuana would say he smoked?” Katims asked.

“I don’t know, I don’t understand that type of stuff,” she stated. “I don’t know what a lot or a little would necessarily be.”

Previous to Lawrence taking the stand, Katims, Bourgoin’s lawyer, started Friday’s proceedings by asking the decide to enter a “judgment of acquittal” for his shopper on the five counts of second-degree murder.

He contended through the state’s case, prosecutors did current any proof to elucidate Bourgoin’s actions within the fatal crash.

“What the state chose to do here was to present some of the evidence, not all the evidence, I think they had at their disposal,” Katims stated, adding that has a created “a vacuum” of what was happening with Bourgoin.

“What the jury has right now is nothing about who was driving,” Katims stated.

He stated it might take “speculation and conjecture” for the the prosecution to prove past an inexpensive doubt that Bourgoin’s action met the standard of second-degree murder.

Katims pointed the testimony earlier within the trial from a police officer who stated that motorists drive the flawed approach on the interstate for a spread of reasons, from confusion, to impairment, to unfamiliarity with the world.

Chittenden County State’s Lawyer Sarah George, the prosecutor, countered that witness, including different motorists who have been on the street that night time, testified of actions they took once they encountered Bourgoin driving the mistaken method on the interstate that night time.

Those witnesses, George stated, talked of sounding their horns and flashing their headlights, all in an effort to get Bourgoin to turn around.

“There is no evidence that has been presented that this was anything but intentional,” George stated.

Decide Kevin Griffin then denied Katims’ movement to dismiss the murder costs, saying the state didn’t have to show a motive. He allowed the trial to proceed.

Because the questioning of Lawrence neared an in depth Friday, Hardin, a prosecutor, requested Lawrence if she had talked to Bourgoin about what occurred on the night time of Oct. eight, 2016.

“Not really, no,” Lawrence replied

“Is it correct that the only thing he ever really told you about what happened on Oct. 8, 2016, was that there were no wrong-way signs on the highway?” Hardin asked.

“Correct,” Lawrence replied.

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Filed beneath:

Crime and Justice

Tags: Anila Lawrence, Steven Bourgoin

Alan J. Keays

About Alan

Alan J. Keays is the previous longtime information editor of the Rutland Herald. He reviews on legal justice points for VTDigger.

E mail: [email protected]

Comply with Alan on Twitter @ajkvt

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