By Mike Donoghue, Vermont News First
A former Burlington man has been sentenced to 20 years to life for sexual assault in connection with a brutal attack, strangulation and rape of a good Samaritan outside a Williamstown bar two years ago.
Samaan Adenti, 23, also received a concurrent 19-to-20-year prison term for assault and robbery with injury for stealing items from the victim, including credit cards that were later used in New Hampshire for shopping sprees, court records show.
Adenti also is due to be extradited to Glens Falls, N.Y. on a warrant issued in Warren County, N.Y. where he is wanted in another sexual assault charge involving an elderly woman, officials said. New York officials have requested that Adenti be transferred once Vermont authorities are done with him.
A Central Vermont woman explained at the historic courthouse in Chelsea on Wednesday about the serious impact the attack, her injuries and subsequent issues have had on her, her family and the community. The woman was sexually assaulted after she offered to help the man, who claimed his 2014 black Chrysler needed a jump start while parked outside The Pub on Main Street about 12:30 a.m. Aug. 16, 2021, Vermont State Police said.
State Police Detective Sgt. Isaac Merriam said the woman reported she agreed to assist the man with his four-door silver sedan when it didn’t start. Adenti had been inside the bar and talked with a couple of people, who were able to help provide a description of the suspect. She said she was putting her jumper cables back in her car when the man pushed her into her back seat and sexually assaulted her, Merriam said in court papers.
She was able to kick him off her, but he grabbed her again and tackled her on the sidewalk as he continued to call her an expletive, the detective wrote. She arrived back home with no pants on. Williamstown Ambulance took her to Central Vermont Medical Center, where Merriam took pictures of the victim’s injuries, including her bruised, bloody and swollen face.
Interim Orange County State’s Attorney Colin Seaman argued for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years. He noted the viciousness of the attack and presented the court with 8 photographs from the hospital showing various injuries to all parts of the victim’s body, including her head from the beatings.
Defense lawyer Christopher Moll argued for 3 years in prison for Adenti, who has been jailed in Vermont since his arraignment in December 2021.
Retired Vermont Superior Court Judge Michael S. Kupersmith, who presided at the sentencing on Wednesday, said Adenti needed a lengthy prison sentence in order to protect the public. Adenti will need to register as a sex offender and the judge also assessed $294 in court surcharges.
Adenti used bank and credit cards belonging to the victim in Claremont, N.H. and Newport, N.H., where local police were alerted by Vermont State Police that the cards were being used. Plymouth, N.H. Police subsequently arrested him on charges of fraudulent credit card activity on Aug. 18, 2021, Merriam said. Plymouth Police got a court-order from a judge requiring Adenti to provide DNA samples for Vermont State Police.
The day before his arrest, Adenti is believed to have approached a woman at her Randolph home on a dead-end road and said he was new to the area and wanted to meet people, Merriam said. The man asked if her dog was friendly and when she said “no,” he fled in his car, which had no license plate. The man was in the same car that was described as being involved in the sexual assault at the Williamstown bar, police said.
The car had significant front-end damage and that appeared to correspond to a hit-and-run crash in Shelburne on Aug. 13, 2021, Merriam said. Shelburne Officer Brian Fox reported Adenti had rear-ended another car and was later stopped by Sgt. Josh Fiore, police said. The Adenti car was filled with clothes when stopped.
Adenti was originally from Burlington, but moved to Nebraska and had been attending a Community College. He had stopped his education to return to Vermont to visit relatives in Burlington, including an aunt, records indicate.
Vermont Probation Officer Edward Adams, who wrote a pre-sentence investigation report, noted Adenti had been moving around in the year before the sexual assault. One address was 220 Riverside Avenue, according to court records.
The case has been very trying for the victim and seriously impacted all people involved, according to Seaman, who took over the prosecution when former State’s Attorney Dickson Corbett was named a Vermont judge.
Seaman credited the work of Merriam and other members of the Vermont State Police for tracking down every lead.
A version of this story first appeared in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus newspaper