Arsonists Go to Jail

Arsonists Go to Jail

Two South Norwalk, Conn., men and the proprietor of a drug store at St. Johnsbury, Vt., were sentenced to prison or jail terms on August 4 in connection with a fire on October 2, 1948, in the drug store.

Raymond DeForest, of South Norwalk, who had pled guilty to a second degree arson charge, and who served as the State’s star witness, was sentenced in Municipal Court, St. Johnsbury, to serve from 13 months to three years at hard labor at the Windsor State Prison.

Bertram Bixby, also of South Norwalk, a nephew of DeForest, was sentenced to serve from 3 to 10 months in the St. Johnsbury Jail. He had previously pled guilty.

Michael H. Teitle, proprietor of the drug store, who was convicted by a County court jury on August 2, was sentenced to serve from 3 to 5 years at hard labor. Teitle’s attorneys secured a stay of sentence pending an appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court. He was released on $10,000 bail pending action on the appeal.

Judge Benjamin H. Hurlburd, in sentencing Teitle in County Court, told the defendant that he was lucky he was not facing a death sentence as Vermont law provides for such a sentence in a case of first degree arson. Teitle had been charged with, and convicted of, second degree arson.

Principal witnesses for the State were DeForest and Bixby. DeForest had been an employe of Teitle and a tenant in an apartment over the drug store. Bixby had lived in the same apartment. Teitle’s conviction on the arson charge followed civil action brought by him against an insurance company, in which he was awarded $12,000, as damages from the fire. The verdict against the insurance company was upheld early this year by the Vermont Supreme Court.


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