Judge denies jurisdiction challenge in kidnapping case | Local News

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BENNINGTON — A judge has denied a motion to dismiss the case of a Bennington man accused of kidnapping a teenager and fleeing along the East Coast last summer, ruling that Bennington was competent in the case.

Sheldon Morey, 37, is charged with one count of kidnapping a victim under the age of 16 after he was arrested in the Baltimore, Maryland, area by a combined federal law enforcement task force, state and local.

The motion to dismiss on jurisdictional issues was based on whether the Vermont Department of Children and Families could be considered a sufficient “person” to establish jurisdiction in Vermont. The petition stated that the abduction took place in New York, that the victim allegedly lived in New York, and that Morey was homeless in New York at the time of the incident. The only known connection to Vermont was that DCF had custody of the minor at the time of the abduction.

After a brief pause to investigate the matter, Judge Kerry McDonald-Cady denied the motion, expressing her belief that the evidence thus far in the case pointed to allowing Morey’s prosecution in Vermont due to the custody of the minor by the DCF. McDonald-Cady felt that in this particular case, the fact that the DCF was involved was enough for Vermont to sue.

“It was one of those unusual cases where a judge, officially, explained his reasoning in a very detailed argument in open court,” said Morey’s defense attorney, Richard Burgoon. “It really helped everyone understand the complex issues involved.”

According to a police affidavit, the 15-year-old victim ran away from home in early July last year. The victim’s mother told police she believed the victim was in the company of Morey, who was known to the victim. The mother gave police a description of Morey, the vehicle she believed they were traveling in, and Morey’s cell phone number.

At some point that week, police received reports that Morey was in the Bennington, Pownal, Somerset and Searsburg areas of Vermont. All locations have been verified without locating the victim or Morey.

Later that week, a “ping” test was performed on Morey’s cell phone, locating him to Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Law enforcement located the vehicle and attempted to make contact, but Morey fled. A high-speed chase ended for safety reasons. His phone then rang in and around Baltimore, where he was located and taken into custody.

It has been noted that Morey is not a relative of the victim, who was in the custody of DCF Vermont at the time of the abduction. No further information about the nature of DCF’s custody relationship or why they were involved has been released due to the victim’s age.

Morey is no stranger to the Vermont legal system. He has a criminal record that includes unlawful restraint, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, domestic assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, two probation violations, and several outstanding matters, including several misdemeanors and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. These cases are still ongoing.

Morey faces a life sentence if convicted on the kidnapping charge. He is being held without bond at Marble Valley Correctional Facility in Rutland pending a weight of evidence hearing.


Judge denies jurisdiction challenge in kidnapping case | Local News

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