Cavendish man held without bail after allegedly menacing his wife with a hatchet

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A Cavendish man with a history of bizarre encounters with police was ordered held without bail this week after he allegedly menaced his wife with a hatchet and choked her repeatedly despite court orders that have been in place since last fall saying he could not come within a hundred feet of her.

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    As he was being led by sheriff’s deputies into the courtroom in handcuffs Tuesday afternoon, Michael Mills, 32, loudly stated “I really need to go to Brattleboro,” in an apparent reference to the psychiatric facility at the Brattleboro Retreat.

    Mills spent much of the hearing glancing frantically around the courtroom.  He also repeatedly sat and put his head into his bandaged hands as Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill read off a litany of accusations as to how he had allegedly violated pre-trial release conditions stemming from cases filed against him last year ranging from domestic assault to drunk driving - fourth offense.

    Mill’s public defender, attorney Audrey Sandner, entered innocent pleas on Mill’s behalf to a slate of new charges that included two felony counts of first degree aggravated domestic assault, a felony count of kidnapping, and three misdemeanor violations of conditions of release.”

    “It’s apparent that conditions of release did not protect Mrs. Mills,” Cahill told Judge Theresa DiMauro as he urged her to hold Mills without bail in part because the kidnapping charge alone carries a potential maximum sentence of up to life in prison if Mills were to be convicted.

    Attorney Sandner had urged the court to let Mills go to get “the treatment he so desperately needs” for what she described as “significant and severe mental health issues.”
    Last week, before Mills was arrested on the new charges, Sandner had already filed a request with the court asking to have Mills examined by a psychiatrist to see whether or not he is competent to stand trial.
“He is currently having manic episodes,” Sandner told the judge as Mills squirmed in his handcuffs next to her.

    Mills repeatedly tried to explain to the court that his wife “had requested” that he come back to their residence despite the protective orders that were in place forbidding him from doing so.

    In an affidavit filed with the court, Vermont State Police Trooper Tyler Noyes wrote that police responded to the Mills residence shortly before 4 a.m. on Monday where Laura Mills told them that her husband had been living at the residence for months despite the court orders.

    Trooper Noyes wrote that Mills’ wife reported that Mills “consistently abuses, harasses and threatens the victim on a daily basis to include punching, kicking, spitting, strangling and verbally threatening the victim,” and Noyes said police listened to a tape recording she had made that captured on such alleged episode over the weekend.

    During the alleged assault Mills reportedly wielded a black hatchet and used it to strike the wooden bed frame the putative victim was lying on before punching her in the ribs and pushing her out into a hallway.

    Mrs. Mills also reported having been strangled “numerous times” since the couple were married in August of last year, allegedly to the point that she had “difficulty breathing and comes close to losing consciousness.”

    During Tuesday’s hearing Mills looked desperate at times and repeatedly shook his head as the various accusations were laid out by prosecutors and the judge.

    In the past, Mills has been charged on a couple of occasions with disturbing the peace after police said he called 911 up to sixteen times in the pre-dawn hours while “yelling and singing into the telephone” and taking to dispatchers about “getting his firearms back.”

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