Public Safety

Former Windsor fuel company owner sentenced for brutal 2021 assault

Defense attorney Peter Langrock, left, talks to his client Joshua Marcell before Judge John Treadwell reads out his sentence during a hearing at Windsor County Superior Court in White River Junction on Wednesday, March 15. Photo by Alex Driehaus/Valley News / Report For America

This story by John Lippman first appeared in the Valley News on March 17.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Windsor man and former owner of a well-known heating fuel distributor was sentenced to three years and three months to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to brutally assaulting a person at his residence and business 16 months ago in Windsor.

Joshua Marcell, who owned and operated JAM Fuels in Windsor, “committed very serious crimes,” said Judge John Treadwell in pronouncing Marcell’s sentence on Wednesday morning in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction.

Marcell, 43, was charged with 11 counts of aggravated domestic assault in the first degree in November 2021, after he flew into an alcohol-fueled rage and physically assaulted the victim and locked her in a vehicle trunk, leaving her with lacerations over her body, a broken hand, a concussion, bruises, dental damage and in severe psychological trauma, according to court documents.

Under the plea agreement, Marcell pleaded guilty to five charges: aggravated domestic assault in the first degree, domestic assault, unlawful restraint in the first degree, interference with access to emergency services and violation of parole.

He was sentenced to 15 years probation, which means if Marcell, who has a history of violating court orders, breaks any of the conditions imposed by the court, his sentence is extended from eight years to 25 years.

With credit for 16 months he has spent in pre-trial detention, Marcell has two years remaining on his minimum sentence.

Treadwell appeared to strike a middle ground between the prosecutor’s argument that the crimes to which Marcell pleaded guilty are so serious that they warranted the maximum sentence allowed under the negotiated plea agreement and the minimum prison sentence followed by supervised release argued by the defense.

During the hearing, Deputy State’s Attorney Emily Zukauskas stressed that Marcell has broken prior court orders — she submitted evidence to the court that showed even on the eve of his sentencing hearing Marcell attempted again to communicate with the victim through a third party — and that his “risk to harm others is substantial given his history.”

Defense attorney Peter Langrock, acknowledging that his client “did some horrible things,” cited defense expert witness testimony that Marcell in addition to alcoholism likely suffers from undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

“He’s not a criminal who wants to hurt society or hurt people. He’s a person who has a series of medical conditions and background which, if left unchecked, makes him very dangerous,” Langrock said.

At the time of the 2021 assault, Marcell was already under court orders not to have contact with the victim due to his prior record of violence against her.

The victim, who attended the first day of Marcell’s two-day sentencing hearing, detailed for the court through her victim’s advocate the harrowing violence she suffered at the hands of Marcell that was later documented with police photographs.

“I was sure I was going to die,” she said.

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