Science Brandon man sentenced to 2 years on federal firearms charge after threatening neighbors 4 months ago Ankor News Connect with us A Brandon man accused of threatening to shoot his neighbors was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Thursday to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Eric Grenier, 40, had agreed to a deal with federal prosecutors in June, pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms. He will get credit for the 15 months he has already spent in jail. Judge Christina Reiss described Thursday’s sentence as “a felon in possession upgrading,” as the circumstances surrounding the firearms charge were “much more serious” than simple possession. According to a police affidavit written by then-Brandon Police Chief Christopher Brickell, Grenier shot several rounds from a rifle on July 1, 2021, while his neighbor Michael Shank was doing chores in Shank’s barn, which abuts Grenier’s property on High Pond Road in Brandon. Two days later, Grenier set off fireworks and explosives in his yard for about two hours, according to testimony Shank shared with the court. When Shank stepped outside later that week, Grenier allegedly yelled, “I see you, you cop-calling bitch.” While on the phone with police, Shank heard more gunfire or explosions, he said. Grenier alledgedy threatened Shank repeatedly, yelling, “Go ahead Mike, come on over,” and “die motherfucker, die,” and “dead as fuck, swear to God.” According to Brickell’s affidavit, Shank said he feared to leave his house, even to mow his fields or get his mail. Shank wrote a commentary for USA Today the following month, titled, “White extremism is winning in my Vermont town. I’m selling my animal sanctuary and moving.” About 10 days later, federal and local authorities raided Grenier’s home after a weekslong investigation, seizing several guns, including two rifles and two pistols. They also found about 370 rounds of assorted ammunition from Grenier’s bedroom, Reiss said during Thursday’s sentencing. This latest sentencing marks Grenier’s 18th conviction, including his fourth for a felony. His prior felony convictions were for burglary and cultivating marijuana. He is also facing four pending state cases in Rutland County: attempted burglary, leaving the scene of a crash, assault and multiple counts of criminal threatening, the latter related to the episodes with Shank and other neighbors. Reiss read sections of affidavits related to those cases aloud during Thursday’s hearing. One passage described an interaction between Grenier and Brandon police in February 2021, after Grenier allegedly left the scene of a parking lot collision. When officers approached Grenier’s home, according to the affidavit, he answered the door in body armor. As the situation escalated, Grenier showed one of the officers a swastika tattoo on his wrist, and called the officer a “fucking (n-word) fucking lover.” Reiss read aloud other quotes during the hearing, which repeatedly referred to Grenier using racist slurs. The federal firearms charge carried a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Grenier’s attorney, William Vasiliou II, asked Reiss to release Grenier into the community immediately, under supervision. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples suggested a three-year sentence. He argued the court should impose a longer sentence than federal guidelines suggested, as they failed to account for the full breadth of Grenier’s criminal history. At the start of the hearing, Vasiliou requested the court escort any victims from the room, as he was about to disclose private information about Grenier, not included in written court records, which Vasiliou argued his neighbors should not hear. Reiss rejected this request, stating that victims, as well as members of the public, have a right to attend court proceedings. Vasiliou argued Grenier’s history of childhood trauma and mental illness should be considered as mitigating factors. Grenier had been sexually abused as a child, first attempted suicide around third or fourth grade, and by seventh grade, Vasiliou said, was using “relatively hard narcotics.” “At that point, intervention was needed, but wasn’t given,” Vasiliou said. He said Grenier had been diagnosed with depression and ADHD, and had suffered paranoia as a side effect of medication. He asked the court for an updated mental health assessment. The judge agreed with Vasiliou that Grenier had conducted himself well in jail for the past several months, as he engaged with corrections programs and substance abuse treatment, calling his behavior “impressive.” But “it cuts both ways,” Reiss said, stating that the defendant’s good behavior in jail showed that he had the ability to control himself. “He can, and yet he has not,” she said. Grenier stood to read a written statement to the court, where he apologized and expressed regret for how he interacted with his neighbors. He acknowledged his decades-long criminal history: “Yes, it does look bad,” he said. During the Covid-19 pandemic, “I lost my job, my self-worth,” he said. His voice breaking, he said he feared he had failed his children, and didn’t want to be absent from their lives. He’s in the longest stretch of sobriety in his life, he said, and he hoped to soon start college to study environmental science. He closed his statement with a Bible verse. His lawyer passed him a box of tissues. Toward the end of the hearing, Reiss agreed with the defense that Grenier’s mental health had played a role in his actions, but didn’t fully explain or excuse his crimes. She said if it weren’t for his good behavior while in jail the past several months, she would have agreed with the prosecution’s suggested higher sentence. Reiss rejected the prosecution’s request to include Grenier’s past marijuana cultivation as a reason for a longer sentence. Stay on top of all of Vermont’s criminal justice news. Sign up here to get a weekly email with all of VTDigger’s reporting on courts and crime. Continue Reading Previous 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN Partner for a 6th Year to Help Empower Women in Tech through New Face Of Tech Scholarship ProgramNext Vitiligo treatment Opzelura returns skin’s color in third of patients More Stories Science DNA IDs man whose skull found in Delaware. 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