Burlington, Vt. - Police say James Scarola, 40, who is charged with aggravated domestic assault and attempted murder may have drugged his children before he attacked his wife. Those children are safe and staying with family.
Flowers and a candle sit in front of the Scarola home as prosecutors and Scarola's defense team work inside Tuesday reviewing evidence.
“We wanted to just take a look at the scene and get a better understand of what may have occurred,” said T.J. Donovan, Chittenden County States Attorney.
Neighbors say seeing this police van parked in front of the home on Blodgett Street serves as a constant reminder of what happened just a few days ago. Police say early Sunday morning Scarola hit his wife in the head with a metal baseball bat while his children slept in another room.
“This was an absolutely brutal and vicious assault,” said Donovan. Donovan says there's evidence Scarola may have drugged his children before attacking his wife.
“Statements were made to the police that they were given a certain type of candy that literally kind of knocked them out and they slept through the assault. We are certainly looking at that to determine whether or not they were drugged during the night the assault occurred,” said Donovan.
Neighbors say what happened Sunday morning is shocking. One man says he's lived on this street for more than 50 years and he's always described the neighborhood as quiet, up until now.
“The fact that someone would strike their partner in the head with a bat to such a degree, with such force and severity, I think it is a bit shocking to folks,” said Donovan.
The victim was taken to the hospital with severe injuries including a fractured skull and as of Tuesday night remains in critical condition.
“This is a woman and a mother who has severe and significant injuries. If she were to die, it's likely the state would file a murder charge,” said Donovan.
Donovan says the children's blood test results should be in later this week just in time for Scarola's hearing on Monday morning.
For now Scarola is being held without bail and Donovan says the state will try and keep him locked up for the duration of this case.