On Sunday December 08, 2013, a complaint was received at the Orange CountySheriff’s Department on our Departments Operation Game Thief tip line, advising that an illegal deer had been taken by Douglas Vezina . The anonymous complaint advised the deer was a button buck (antlers barely, if at all protruding above the hair of the deer, antlerless deer). The deer had allegedly been brought to Terrance Grondin’s and butchered in the garage, by Vezina. The incident had reportedly taken place on November 27, 2013, or November 29, 2013. The season to take antlerless deer as described was not open on either of those dates.
On Saturday December 14, 2013, at approximately 1010 hours, I began an investigation into the incident with State Game Warden Sgt. Brad Mann (retired as of December 28, 2013). Sgt. Mann and I spoke with Terrance Grondin, the owner of the residence in the town of Morgan. Grondin gave us verbal and written permission to search the property. During our search, in what was told to us was Vezina’s bedroom, I observed and documented a .30-30 caliber Winchester, model 94AE rifle hanging on a gun rack in the bedroom. Grondin advised the rifle belonged to Vezina. Grondin advised Vezina had been renting a room from him
since approximately mid-September of 2013. We seized deer quarters and packagedmeat from a freezer located in the kitchen that Grondin advised belonged to Vezina. Some of the packages of deer meat were labeled “2013 buck”. We also seized other packages of meat labeled 2012 neck roast. I observed and documented deer hair in the back of a Ford Ranger that was parked in the driveway of the residence. Grondin advised the truck was one that Vezina had been driving. I observed and documented deer hair in several locations in the garage of the residence. I seized a bow saw that had deer hair and suspected deer blood on its blade. Grondin advised that Vezina had gone to Florida on a trip and he was due to return on December 23, 2013. I observed a note on a calendar hanging in the kitchen that read something to the effect of Doug gone to Florida. The note was on the date of December 09, 2013, on the calendar. Grondin completed a sworn written statement advising that he had no knowledge of any illegal deer taken by Vezina. Grondin knowingly made several false statements in that document that he swore to under the pains and penalties perjury (he later completed another statement advising that he lied in his previous statement). I explained to him that the information he wrote in the statement was the same as uttering those words in a court of law while under oath. I had Grondin raise his right hand and swear to the statement he had written. He freely signed the document attesting to its truthfulness. I notarized the document in his presence. I completed a receipt for evidence form for the previously mentioned items and had Grondin sign the form to acknowledge the seizure of evidence. I advised Grondin that I thought he knew more than he was telling me. I left him my contact information in case he remembered anything relevant to the case.
I later contacted the Department of Fish and Wildlife licensing division. I was told that Douglas Vezina had not held a valid Vermont hunting license since 2009. I had the clerk email me confirmation of the last license on file for Vezina.
On Monday December 16, 2013, I received a phone message on my home answering machine from Terrance Grondin. The message indicated that Grondin wanted me to call him. After some, back and forth messages between him and me, I spoke with him on the phone on the evening of Tuesday December 17, 2013. Grondin advised that he had more to tell me and that he had been involved to some degree with the taking of an illegal button buck with Douglas Vezina. Grondin and I arranged to meet at his residence on Wednesday December 18, 2013. I met with
Grondin at his residence at the arranged time. During that meeting Grondin provided a four page sworn written statement, which detailed the recovery of one male deer (unlawful antlerless buck) and the butchering of two total male deer (both antlerless bucks). A “button buck” is a common phrase used to describe a
juvenile male deer that has antlers that barely if at all protrude above the hair on the skull of the deer. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife defines these juvenile male deer as antlerless deer. No season had been open for antlerless whitetail deer during the month of November (except youth deer hunting weekend November 9th and 10th, which neither Grondin nor Vezina qualified to participate in). At no time did either of the subjects advise that the deer had been taken in defense of crops, or had been given to them by some other legal means. In Grondin’s statement, he provided the following information. He advised that when he arrived home from work one day, on or about the 27th of November at approximately 1630 hours, he was met by Vezina at the door of the residence. Vezina had told him he got a deer down the road and needed help getting it home. Grondin advised he drove Vezina’s truck (Ford Ranger) down the road to a location on Toad Pond Road near “Steve Jennisis” (not known or identified by me) house. His statement continued advising that Vezina got out and dragged a deer up over the bank to the truck. Grondin’s statement advised that when he got out of the truck to help load the deer, he noticed the deer had no antlers. Grondin’s statement included the following statements; “What the hell you trying to get us arrested!! Dougs reply was something to the effect nobodys going to catch us!” According to Grondin’s statement “a day or so later” he came home from work and Vezina asked Grondin to go into the garage and help him cut up the deer (two button bucks). Grondin advised in his statement, that a second button buck had been taken and brought back to the house by Vezina. Grondin advised in his statement that he agreed to aid in cutting up the two deer. In his statement, he advised that once butchered he and Vezina put the processed meat into the freezer in the kitchen. Grondin’s statement advised that he ate some of the meat from the deer that had been taken by Vezina. Grondin’s statement advised that the next day Vezina cleaned up the garage. I did not find the remains of the two deer. Grondin advised that he did not know what Vezina had done with them. Grondin’s statement advised that Vezina had used the .30-30 caliber rifle that was in Vezina’s bedroom to shoot the deer. Grondin’s statement advised that he had hunted with Vezina previously that year. He told me that while he was hunting with Vezina on property next to Ricky A. Densmore’s, also a convicted drug user and distributer), property, a man had encountered them, and advised that Grondin was sitting in the unidentified man’s stand. I had received an email via State Game Warden Jenna Reed that originated from Vermont State Police Sgt. Michael Lacourse. Lacourse email detailed an encounter with Vezina and two other male subjects. Lacourse stated in his email that one of the subjects was sitting in his (Lacourse’s) hunting stand. The location described in the email was the same location that Grondin advised he and Vezina had been hunting. I had spoken
with Lacourse a couple of days earlier about the incident he outlined in his nemail. Lacourse had advised that Vezina was on probation or parole.
On Thursday December 19, 2013, I contacted the Newport area office of Probation and Parole. I spoke with probation officer Cook. She advised that she was Vezina’s probation officer. Cook told me that Vezina was on probation and Parole. She mentioned that one of Vezina’s conditions was he shall not leave
the state without her permission. She advised that she had not granted him permission to leave the state. She told me that the last known address for Vezina was on the North Derby Road in the town of Derby. I told her that he was living on Toad Pond Road in Morgan at Grondin’s residence. Grondin had told me
that Vezina had been living with him since approximately mid-September. One of Vezina’s conditions was to notify his PO (probation officer) within two days if he moved. I also discussed with her the fact that he was a convicted felon. I advised her that he had been in possession of a .30-30 caliber rifle. Pursuant
to his conditions and federal law, he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm. Upon later review of an actual copy of his parole conditions, I also noted that Vezina was not to buy, have, or use any regulated drugs unless
prescribed by a doctor. Grondin had told me that Vezina had used marijuana recently (approximately within the last month). I also had observed what appeared to be a marijuana pipe in a drawer of a nightstand within Vezina’s bedroom. The pipe had burned residue in it.
On Monday December 23, 2013, in the morning hours, I contacted Grondin to inquire about Vezina’s return from Florida. I received information from Grondin later that day that Vezina had not yet returned from Florida as far as he knew.
On Tuesday December 24, 2013, at approximately 1630 hours, State Game Warden Jenna Reed, and two officers from the department of corrections field supervisory unit (FSU), met me at my residence. We departed my residence in a
coordinated effort to attempt to locate Douglas Vezina. We first went to Grondin’s residence on Toad Pond Road in Morgan. Grondin again gave verbal permission to search his residence. While we were at Grondin’s residence, he advised that he had received a phone call from Rick Densmore. According to
Grondin, Vezina had called Densmore asking him to get the “gun” and the “truck” from Grondin’s property and bring it to Densmore’s property. Considering that information, I seized the .30-30 caliber Winchester rifle from Vezina’s bedroom as evidence. I completed another receipt for property form and Grondin signed it. The firearm was later logged into the firearms evidence room at the Derby State Police Barracks. I had contacted ATF Agent James Mostyn reference Vezina being a felon in possession of a firearm. Agent Mostyn forwarded the case to Agent Martin. My contact with agent Martin is ongoing at the time of this report. Agent Martin has advised me to forward my completed case to him once I
have finished with it. Agent Martin told me he was going to pursue the case with the United State States Attorney. We left Grondin’s residence at
approximately 1700 hours. We all went to Densmore’s property l in the town of Morgan. I did not receive an answer at the
door of the residence when I knocked. We were starting to depart the property when a vehicle entered the driveway. A man, later verbally identified as Ricky Densmore, exited the vehicle and invited us inside his residence. I asked Densmore if he had seen or heard from Vezina. He told me that he had not arrived back in Vermont from Florida. He told me that he had received a phone
call from Vezina requesting the removal of the firearm and truck from Grondin’s property. He told me that he called Grondin, and did nothing after Grondin said he would not bring the items to Densmore’s property. He told me the last he knew Vezina was not due back into Vermont until late that evening. I told Densmore to have Vezina contact me, or one of the FSU officers, as soon as
Vezina arrived back in Vermont. I issued Densmore my business card, as did the FSU officers. Densmore confirmed earlier information that I had received. He told me the camper style trailer located on his property was Vezina’s and he had
lived in it from time to time over the past few years. We left Densmore’s property at approximately 1730 hours.
On Thursday December 26, 2013, at approximately 0930 hours, I contacted the Orleans County States Attorney Allen Franklin and discussed the case with him. He advised that a flash citation and potential application for an arrest warrant
was ok with him after discussing the case. I advised Allen Franklin that I was going to cite Vezina for January 07, 2014 at 0830 hours, if I caught up with him. I also contacted FSU again. I arranged to have an FSU officer go with me in an attempt to locate Vezina one more time. At approximately 1030 hours, I
met with FSU officer Tyrel Kerr in Derby. We went to Terrance Grondin’s residence and he told us he had not heard from Vezina. We then went to Densmore’s residence. Densmore advised that he had not heard from Vezina either. He told me he might be in St. Johnsbury at “Rose’s” residence. Densmore advised that he did not have any further information about Rose. We
departed Densmore’s property and I made a phone call to Grondin. I asked Grondin what he might know about Rose. He told me he and Vezina had painted her residence in St. Johnsbury in the past. He gave me directions to Rose’s residence. He advised that he did not have any further information about Rose.
I contacted State Game Warden Dennis Amsden. I asked Warden Amsden to go to Rose’s alleged residence in an attempt to locate and make contact with Vezina. Warden Amsden advised he would try to do as I requested either that day or the
next. I placed a call to Vezina’s cell phone (I had attempted this one other time and did not get an answer or a voice mail option). I was able to leave a
voice mail for Vezina. I contacted Vezina’s father Romeo Vezina (verbal identification only). Romeo Vezina advised that he had not heard from his son since his son had left for Florida. Romeo Vezina provided me with his x-wife, Alice’s phone number (Douglas Vezina’s mother). I contacted “Alice” She stated
that she had gone to Florida with Douglas Vezina, her son. She told me that Douglas Vezina had told her that he had permission to travel to Florida with her. She told me that she returned to Vermont early (before her son) due to medical problems with her current husband. She advised that she had received a
phone message from her son advising that he had returned to the state of Vermont. I asked her to have her son contact me if she heard from him again. She told me she would. She also gave me a phone number for her daughter,
Douglas Vezina’s sister Debbie (not positively identified by me). I contacted Douglas Vezina’s sister and she told me she had not heard from her brother since before he went to Florida with their mother. I had no other information on how to make contact with Vezina. At approximately 1515 hours, I received a phone call from the state police dispatcher advising Douglas Vezina was on the line for me. The dispatcher connected us. I advised Vezina that I needed to see him by 1630 hours, at the state police barracks in Derby. I told him that if he failed to meet with me by
that time I was going to apply for an arrest warrant for him. He advised that
he was not sure how he was going to get to the barracks and asked if it could wait unit the next day. I told him no. We ended our conversation and he called me back approximately fifteen minutes later. He told me his father was going to pick him up in St. Johnsbury and bring him to the barracks as I had requested.
I contacted FSU and advised them of my arranged meeting with Vezina. FSU officer John Hardy advised that he would meet us at the barracks. I contacted Terrance Grondin and asked him to meet me at the state police barracks at 1630 hours as well.
At approximately 1630 hours, Terrance Grondin arrived at the barracks. State Game Warden Jenna Reed sat with Grondin. I advised her that if I had any further questions for Grondin after speaking with Vezina then I would come and address him.
At approximately 1645 hours, Douglas Vezina arrived at the barracks. I brought him into an interview room and read him his Miranda Warning. Vezina signed the Miranda Warning waiving his rights to speak with an attorney before questioning.
I informed Vezina about why I wanted to question him. Vezina told me that heshot two button buck deer off from Toad Pond Road in the town of Morgan. Vezina told me that he used the .30-30 caliber Winchester I had seized to shoot the deer. He told me that he stored the meat from the deer in the freezer that was
located in the kitchen at Grondin’s residence. He advised that he had been hunting with the rifle when encountered by off duty State Trooper Sgt. Michael Lacourse (he did not tell me he knew it was trooper Lacourse at the time of the incident). Vezina completed a sworn written statement conveying the same information as he had previously told me. I asked Vezina when he had last
purchased a hunting license in the state of Vermont. He advised he was not sure. I told him the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s license database indicated that the last hunting license he had purchased was in 2009. He agreed that was probably the last hunting license he had held in the state of Vermont. I showed Vezina a copy of the property receipt reflecting the items I had seized from the property located at 921 Toad Pond Road.
Before Grondin departed the barracks, I issued him a citation to answer to the charge of taking deer out of season. This is a violation of Title 10VSA4745. I explained the options and the penalties of the citation to him. Grondin was
charged this way because Title 10VSA4501 states in part that any person who
counsels or aids in a violation, or who knowingly shares in the proceeds of aviolation by receiving or possessing fish or wild animals, shall be punished as the principal. No season was open for the taking of antlerless deer. The issued citation required Terrance Grondin to appear at the Orleans County Criminal Court on January 07, 2014, at 0830 hours, to answer to the charge.
Warden Jenna Reed fingerprinted and photographed Grondin by my request, before his departure. Grondin advised that he did not have any questions regarding the incident or the citation that I had issued him. Grondin advised that he was not on active duty with the US military. I issued Douglas Vezina Vermont Fish and Game Complaint number F11457, for Hunting without a license. This is a violation of Title 10VSA4251a. I explained the options and the penalties of the Complaint to Vezina. I showed him a copy of the schedule of fines. I issued him and explained a copy the
Vermont Fish and Wildlife points system. I issued him a judicial bureau envelope. He told me that he was not on active duty with the military. I also issued Douglas Vezina a citation to appear at the Orleans Criminal Court on January 07, 2014, at 0830 hours, to answer to the charge of Taking deer out of season (two counts). This is a violation of Title 10VSA4745. I explained the options and the penalties of the citation to him. Vezina told me that he did not have any questions regarding the incident, or the paperwork that I had issued to him. Before Vezina departed the barracks, I fingerprinted and photographed him.
On Friday December 27, 2013, I was having a follow up conversation with ATF agent Martin in reference to this case, when he suggested I run a background check on the seized .30-30 caliber rifle. After completion of our conversation, I checked the rifle. VSP Derby dispatch told me, and sent me written confirmation that the rifle had been stolen in 1999, and never recovered. Case number 99B202133 was a State Police case handled by now State Trooper Sgt. Larry Smith. I read the case and it identified the firearm by description and serial number. I did contact Sgt. Smith reference the case. He did not have much recollection of the case. The case narrative advised that the firearm had been stolen from Garth A. Bickford. I contacted ATF Agent Martin again and advised him that the rifle came back as stolen. He advised to forward a copy of my completed case to him when I had it. Bickford currently has a warrant out for his arrest. I was not able to contact Bickford reference the stolen gun. I contacted Nicholas Vezina and inquired about the origin of the gun. Nicholas Vezina told me his father (Douglas Vezina) had bought the gun for him approximately fifteen years ago. Nicholas Vezina would have been approximately ten years old at that time. He also advised that he thought it was purchased from a person by the last name of Lucier. He did tell me that he was not very sure of the details of the gun purchase. After speaking with Nicholas Vezina, I visited Douglas Vezina in the town of Morgan. Douglas Vezina told me had had purchased the gun from Heather Lucier napproximately fifteen years ago. He told me he paid cash and the transaction had taken place at Lucier’s store in Newport Center. He told me that Heather Lucier was “young” at the time and her parents were present during the transaction. After speaking with Douglas Vezina, I did some research and came up with a Heather Lucier (date of birth not clear. I found several different dates for the same individual) that lived in Newport Center. I contacted Lucier by telephone. She told me that she vaguely remembered owning and selling a .30-30 rifle in the past. She advised that her parents would probably have better details of the transaction. She told me she would contact her mother (she did not identify her mother) and have her call me. As of the date of this report, I have not heard back from Lucier’s mother.
My investigation into the origin of the stolen firearm will continue pending further information. I will update this case as more information is received.
My investigation into the taking of illegal deer is finished as of the date of
State Game Warden,
Jason Dukette Date: December 29, 2013