State wants max sentence for man with over 40 convictions

June 14, 2018

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking the maximum sentence for a Vermont man with more than 40 previous convictions who pleaded guilty in a deadly hit-and-run crash.

Prosecutor Rose Kennedy says 42-year-old Thomas Velde Jr. has benefited from lenient punishment. She filed a motion this month saying the case shows that even nonviolent repeat offenders can cause “irreparable harm.” The Rutland Herald reports that she is requesting a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Velde pleaded guilty to hitting and killing 57-year-old Leo Branchaud on the road outside Branchaud’s dairy farm in Tinmouth in 2016.

Prosecutors say Velde was drinking before the crash. His lawyers argued it was accidental. Police say Velde told investigators his truck’s rear brakes weren’t working at the time of the crash.

Sentencing has not been scheduled.

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