Burlington murder suspect back in court on refiled charges

Local News
Man Accused of Killing Wife in Cleaver Attack Pleads_04687961

A Burlington man accused of killing his wife with a meat cleaver is scheduled to be arraigned on first-degree murder charges Friday, more than three months after prosecutors said they were dismissing the case.

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office says it will reinstate murder charges against Aita Gurung, who police say killed is wife and seriously injured his mother-in-law in October 2017. Gurung, who has a history of mental illness and psychiatric care, had planned an insanity defense.

But in June, Chittenden County State Attorney Sarah George announced she would not pursue the charges because she did not feel prosecutors could successfully rebut Gurung’s insanity claim.

George also dropped the charges in a second murder case, as well as an attempted murder case. At the time, George said prosecutors had determined that in all three cases the suspects would present “substantial admissible evidence” of serious mental illness.

“Despite a retention of forensic psychiatrists who conducted thorough evaluations of the defendants, the state does not have sufficient evidence to rebut these insanity defenses,” George said.

The decision to abandon the prosecution of the three cases led to an uproar that prompted Gov. Phil Scott to order Attorney General TJ Donovan to take another look and determine whether charges should be reinstated.

Donovan’s office said a news conference would be held after Gurung’s arraignment, where he is expected to be charged with first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder.

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