Swanton man gets at least three years in prison in connection with Highgate killing

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Photo courtesy: Tom Benton/St. Albans Messenger

Calling out a “human decency issue,” a judge sentenced Corey Cassani, 29, of Swanton, to three to seven years in prison on a felony charge of being an accessory after the fact and three misdemeanor counts of violating conditions of release in connection with the death of Troy Ford. The sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea deal, according to a report from VT Digger.

“Helping to throw away somebody’s body just violates every standard of human decency,” the judge said according to the report. “He was a human being.”

Cassani plead guilty to helping his girlfriend hide Ford’s body. Erika Guttilla and her mother Carmen Guttilla are charged with murder in Ford’s death.

Other charges were dismissed as part of the deal, including unauthorized burial or removal of a dead body and obstructing justice. Prosecutors are not arguing that Cassani had any role in the actual killing of Troy Ford, whose body was found in May of last year.

According to Digger, police affidavits show Erika Guttilla told police she shot Ford, her ex-boyfriend, in her Highgate home while he slept because of his allegedly abusive behavior towards her and her family. Ford allegedly also supplied illicit drugs to the family. Prosecutors say her mother Carmen Guttilla helped hide Ford’s body in a garbage container on the back porch for weeks before they, with Cassani’s help, moved the body to a nearby wooded area, placing branches over it. Ford’s body was later discovered by neighbors who were taking a walk.

Cassani has already served about a year and a half while his case was adjudicated so he would be eligible for release in roughly 18 months, the report said.

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