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Friday, March 8, 2002

Vt. attorney general to hold new interviews in shooting

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -- The Vermont Attorney General's Office will conduct new interviews with witnesses who saw two town police officers shoot and kill a man in a church in December.

Attorney General William Sorrell said Wednesday the interviews will help the office decide whether to pursue criminal charges against the officers, Terrance Parker and Marshall Holbrook.

The officers shot Robert Woodward seven times at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church Dec. 2. Woodward, 37, was agitated, said the government was after him and threatened himself with a small knife.

Police were called and two officers shot Woodward after seeing what they believed was a threatening move, Windham County State's Attorney Dan Davis said shortly after the shooting.

"(Sorrell) needs to make a decision," said Joanne Woodward of Bozrah, the victim's mother. "He needs to come down one way or another."

Many in Brattleboro and elsewhere have questioned the officers' actions in letters to newspapers, public meetings and other forums. Among the questions is why it was necessary to fire seven rounds at a man armed with a small knife.

The drumbeat of critical questioning has been kept up in part by friends of Woodward's from Massachusetts and Connecticut, who have tracked the case closely and posted materials on a special web site, Woodward attended Norwich Free Academy.

Stephen Monroe Tomczak of Wallingford, a longtime friend of Woodward's who is heading the Justice For Woody Web site, said Thursday he questioned the need to interview the witnesses again.

"They have been gathering information for three months. We are extremely concerned with the way things are progressing. We want to know what happened. I don't think that's an unreasonable request," he said.



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