BURLINGTON – A 20-year-old Winooski man is denying he knocked a Milton man off a bridge and to his death on Saturday.
Joshua Granger pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder in Chittenden Superior Court – Criminal Division on Monday.
Police say Granger pushed 20-year-old Jared Streeter of Milton off the Blue Bridge, a railroad crossing between Burlington and Winooski, just after 7:30 p.m. June 9. Granger initially fled the scene but turned himself in to the Winooski Police Department a short time later.
The case drew a crowd to the Edward J. Costello courthouse, though only a dozen were permitted to sit in on the arraignment, which was conducted via video. Streeter’s family and friends held hands and cried as soon as Granger appeared on the screen.
Sworn affidavits say Granger and Streeter were in an ongoing dispute over a woman. They set up a fight using Facebook Messenger and agreed to meet at the Blue Bridge.
Police say there were up to 10 witnesses to the altercation. They told police Granger took the first swing at Streeter’s face but missed. He swung again and made contact, knocking Streeter to the ground, the affidavit says.
Witnesses told police Streeter was knocked out for a couple seconds but got back up and attempted to continue the fight.
“Streeter could barely lift his head and was still groggy from the first punch,” Burlington Detective Michael Beliveau wrote in an affidavit. “Granger punched him a second time in the face at which point Streeter fell down, rolled over and then off the side of the Blue Bridge.”
Police said Streeter fell 50 feet onto a bank near the Winooski River, onto a pile of rocks.
Granger told police it was the hardest he’d ever hit anyone and that he didn’t intend for Streeter to fall, the affidavit says. Granger took off toward Winooski, and one witness went to check on Streeter.
“There was so much blood,” one of Streeter’s friends told police, the affidavit says.
Emergency medical services found Streeter lying face-down with his head turned to the left. Burlington Officer Rob Meyer wrote Streeter appeared to have blunt force trauma to his skull and a fractured leg. Authorities also found blood and brain matter on a large rock above Streeter’s body, the affidavit says.
An autopsy was being completed on Sunday, police said.
Court documents indicate Granger and Streeter had a physical altercation in the past, at a Burlington bus stop. At a press conference at the Burlington Police Department on Monday afternoon, BPD Chief Brandon del Pozo said neither party had a violent background though “they weren’t perfectly straight arrows.”
Del Pozo said the fight was “senseless” and could have been avoided.
“There’s no reason to solve your problems with a fight in such a dangerous location,” he said. “I’m sure if everybody could turn back the clock, they would.”
Granger is being held without bail pending a motion hearing, the date for which was not set Monday afternoon.