A Winooski man has pleaded not guilty in the death of 20-year-old Jared Streeter, who police say fell from the Blue Bridge during a fight over a woman.
Joshua Granger was arraigned via video conference.
According to police, a number of witnesses said Streeter and Granger got into a physical altercation on the bridge, which separates Winooski and Burlington.
Streeter died and Granger is now facing second-degree murder charges.
Police say Granger admitted to starting the fight and of hitting Streeter and knocking him down. When Streeter rose from the ground, looking “groggy,” Granger told police he punched him again, causing Streeter to fall down and roll off the bridge.
Granger’s not guilty plea shook up family members who appeared very emotional in court. Friends said they were speechless and are hoping for justice.
“He was a great friend to everyone, a great family member, and he’s going to be missed. So justice needs to happen, whatever that be,” said Caleb Moore, friend of the the victim.
Police say they received a report of a man who allegedly fell off the Blue Bridge and was unresponsive. Burlington Police Chief Brandon Del Pozo said it appears the men had planned the altercation.
“We think they were choosing between the dump road and the Blue Bridge, somewhere that was out in the open but not too much under the public eye, and I guess as fate would have it, they chose the Blue Bridge,” Del Pozo said.
Moore described Streeter as selfless.
“The time that I did spend with Jared was amazing and he would give the shirt off his back to anyone,” said Moore.
Del Pozo said the death is the tragic end to “a fight between two young men over a woman.
“When you look at their social media and talk to their friends, it seemed like both of them had their whole lives ahead of them. Like so many people, they weren’t perfectly straight arrows. but that’s fine, I mean it’s life. But there’s no reason to solve your problems with a fight in such a dangerous location,” he said.
Similar incidents have occurred on this bridge, before but police say its hard to make it safer.
“Trains have to be able to pass and they’re huge. It would be very difficult if not impossible to secure the bridge in a way that would allow trains to pass but also prevent people from walking across the bridge,” said Del Pozo.
Granger is being held and a hearing is being scheduled to determine bail.