Belvidere, VT — A Brownington man who allegedly shot and killed the son of his former girlfriend at a Belvidere seasonal camp pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.
Michael Chadwick, 61, was ordered jailed without bail after entering the plea in Vermont Superior Court in Hyde Park.
Chadwick was arrested Wednesday at the Bog Road camp after police say he fatally shot Mark P. Benjamin, 42, of Brownington. Chadwick then hid inside the camp for more than two hours before surrendering to police.
According to a police affidavit, Chadwick had been in a long-term relationship with the owner of the camp, Susan Benjamin, Mark Benjamin’s 67-year-old mother. The relationship recently ended, and Susan Benjamin was granted a Relief from Abuse order against Chadwick.
Police said Chadwick violated the order by calling Susan Benjamin the night before the shooting and leaving several voicemail messages. Chadwick told police that the court order was forcing him to leave the camp and that he had nowhere else to go. He said he expected police officers to show up at the camp and that he planned to shoot himself when they did.
Mark Benjamin and his husband, Richard Watt, arrived in separate vehicles to the Bog Road camp and were changing the door lock when Chadwick arrived. According to the affidavit, Chadwick allegedly fired two rounds from a .22-caliber handgun into the vehicle, hitting Benjamin in the neck.
After the shooting, Benjamin drove to the end of the driveway, then stopped his car and entered Watts’ vehicle. Watts called 911 and attempted first aid before stopping a residence near Bog Road and Vermont Route 109. Emergency responders pronounced Mark Benjamin dead shortly before 2:30 p.m.
Chadwick was arrainged in the Criminal Division of Thursday afternoon, he pled not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder, and was ordered not to contact Susan Benjamin or Richard Watt. He’s being held without bail.