Rumford man pleads not guilty in Chesterville standoff

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FARMINGTON — A Rumford man pleaded not guilty Monday to assault and to keeping police at bay during a 10-hour standoff in Chesterville on Dec. 2, according to court documents.

The complaint lodged against Vance Billings, 41, formerly of Carthage, shows that two felony charges were lowered by the state to misdemeanors. He had initially been arrested on aggravated criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

Billings entered not guilty pleas to criminal mischief and assault and to criminal trespass and violation of conditions of release. The arraignment was done by videoconference from the Franklin County Jail to a judge at the Oxford County courthouse.

The first two charges are each punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The latter charges are each  punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

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Billings’ bail was set at $2,000 cash. He had not made bail as of Thursday afternoon and remained in jail, a corrections officer said.

The case remained under investigation Thursday.

On Dec. 1, Wade Swett, 41, of Chesterville called 911 to report that he was being threatened by Billings and that Billings had tossed him around his house after an argument over money, according to Maine State Trooper Eric Ward’s affidavit for an arrest warrant filed with the court.

Swett reported that Billings threatened him with a high-powered BB/pellet rifle and that Billings threatened to shoot him with it. Swett had a small cut on his right forearm but refused to file criminal charges against Billings at the time, Ward wrote.

Swett agreed to leave Billings at his residence at 25 Horseshoe Pond Road for the evening hoping to defuse the situation. Swett was taken to Winslow for the evening where he has a camp and stayed there for the night, according to the affidavit.

The next day, Saturday, the Augusta Regional Communications Center received a medical call at 37 Horseshoe Pond Road in Chesterville from Swett. He had left his own residence to call for help from that residence.

Swett reported that he had come home from his camp and Billings was still at his property destroying items and refusing to leave.

Swett said he was upset with Billings because he had damaged a radio and some electric guitars, among other things. Swett reported that he and Billings argued again and that was when Billings assaulted him.

Swett said that he thought Billings had broken Swetts’ ribs on the left side of his body and he also received a cut/scrape on the bridge of his nose, according to Ward’s affidavit.

After the assault, Swett left the residence and walked to another residence where he called for help. An ambulance was called because of his injuries.

Swett told police that Billings attacked him and he had to fight back to defend himself. 

Swett wanted Billings to leave the property and he wanted to criminally charge Billings for assault and damage to the residence, Ward wrote.

Franklin County Deputies Brad Scovil and Keith Madore arrived on the scene. Scovil saw Billings walking around the residence. He tried to contact Billings using his public address system though Billings would not respond.

Billings barricaded the doors and windows of the residence and refused to leave. He surrendered to police after 10 hours of being holed up and not speaking to police.

Billings has bail conditions that prohibit new criminal conduct. He was arrested on Nov. 30 on a charge of operating under the influence and violation of condition of release by the Wilton Police Department.

He was released from the Franklin County Jail on a supervised agreement. Among the bail conditions imposed on Billings is not to return to 25 Horseshoe Pond Road.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

Vance Billings (Franklin County Detention Center)

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