The state’s attorney in Vermont’s Orleans County described a weekend post-prom party as nightmarish, saying a teen girl was strangled and suffered other attacks at the hands of a fellow party guest.
The suspect is denying the allegations.
Mike Davis, 18, of North Troy, cried as he heard accusations that he turned prom season into a nightmare for a 16-year-old girl in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
Prosecutors said Davis was at an after-prom and graduation party this weekend at a home in Newport Town when he put another party guest in a chokehold to the point where she passed out.
The two had known each other since middle school, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
"This very easily could’ve been a homicide case," Orleans County State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett said to the judge during Davis’s arraignment Monday. "Strangling somebody until they lose consciousness is a really significant assault."
Davis is also accused of unwanted kissing, punching the girl in the arm and leg, and biting her neck.
Defense attorney Gertrude Miller entered not guilty pleas on Davis’s behalf to two misdemeanor assault charges and one felony charge of aggravated assault.
Community members were saddened to hear investigators say this happened at one of the most special times of the year for so many teens.
"It’s too bad," Theresa Gray of Newport said of how she read news reports about the case. "I was actually shocked when I read it, I’m not going to lie. I mean, who’d think—the prom?"
According to police paperwork, Davis told detectives he was just being playful, and thought he was only placing his arm loosely around the girl’s throat—not strangling her. He was adamant in a police interview that no assault took place, but investigators noted the underage suspect was drinking alcohol at the prom party, as was the alleged victim.
Later in the interview, Davis acknowledged he could have underestimated his own strength, police said. The suspect told a state trooper he did not recall the girl losing consciousness.
Davis admitted to not releasing the hold on the girl immediately when being asked, the trooper wrote in paperwork filed with the court.
The girl called her mom to be picked up from the party early Sunday because she had become so uncomfortable, court paperwork detailed.
While the state’s attorney wanted to see Davis jailed until at least his next hearing, Judge Scot Kline released him on a 24-hour curfew, plus other conditions. Those conditions include an order that Davis not contact the girl from the party.
Kline also demanded Davis’s mom or her boyfriend keep tabs on Davis by staying home with him all day.
After the arraignment, necn asked Davis and his mother for comment about what happened at the end-of-school-year party, but they declined to answer.
"Have a good night," the suspect said to reporters while leaving court.
Before his release, the suspect got a stern warning from Judge Kline, who said there could be very serious legal consequences if he violates his curfew.