This article by Christie Wisniewski originally appeared Dec. 5 in the Bennington Banner.
BENNINGTON — At an arraignment attended by nearly two dozen Department of Children and Families employees, a Bennington woman on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to a felony count of obstructing justice and misdemeanor criminal threatening after police say she threatened “a mass murder” of the DCF workers responsible for her case after she found out she would not be able to visit her daughter at Christmastime, said State’s Attorney Erica Marthage.
Billie-Jean Reynolds, 27, was arraigned at the Bennington Criminal Division, where she was represented by public defender Frederick Bragdon. Judge John Valente imposed conditions that forbid her from having contact with the case manager she is accused of threatening or entering DCF offices unless she has prior written approval, according to the court docket. Valente set Reynolds’ bail at $10,000, as recommended by Marthage.
According to a Bennington Social Services affidavit, Reynolds was given a ride Tuesday to the Bennington McDonald’s by an Easterseals worker so Reynolds could have a family time visit with her daughter. The driver called police after Reynolds became upset that she received a text from her case manager telling her that, due to an incident at the Rec Center a few months ago, she would not be able to visit her daughter on Christmas.
Police say Reynolds told the driver that if she didn’t get a Christmas visit with her daughter, “there will be a mass murder of everyone on the caseload.” When the driver told Reynolds she could not threaten people and that the threat would be reported, Reynolds screamed “report it” repeatedly and told the driver “it’s not a threat, it’s a promise,” according to the affidavit.
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