Josh Puma, 35, formerly of Chittenden County, was arraigned this week in Burlington before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle on three counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce to injure the person of another. Puma pleaded not guilty to the charges and Magistrate Judge Doyle ordered Puma detained pending trial.
According to court documents and proceedings, the instant charges involve allegations that Puma called a Vermont Department of Corrections reporting line and threatened to kill a state court judge, a defense attorney, and a state prosecutor and to sexually assault that same prosecutor. The calls were recorded, and Puma specifically stated that when he is released from jail, he will use violence and kill and maim those state officials, in addition to harming and killing other members of the legal community. Puma was recently ordered hospitalized by the state court due to mental health considerations.
If convicted of these offenses, Puma faces a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment on each count alleged in the Indictment.
According to a May 20 Times-Argus news report by veteran Vermont crime reporter Mike Donoghue, police say the South Burlington resident was upset following his arrest for stalking a neighbor on Williston Road. Puma reportedly has been in and out of the state criminal justice system for years. In 2019 he punched his defense attorney in the face in court, and required five officers to restrain him, the news report said.