Steven Bourgoin, 40, currently serving 30 years to life in prison for five counts of second-degree murder in a wrong-way driving crash that killed five local teenagers in 2016, has lost his appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court.
Bourgoin was convicted of the crash in May 2019. The October 8, 2016, crash was on I-89 where Bourgoin drove north in the southbound lane near French Hill and collided with a southbound Volkswagen Jetta, killing the five local teens. He then stole a police cruiser, drove south before turning around and heading north again, crashing into the wreckage.
Killed in the crash were Mary Harris and Cyrus Zschau, Moretown; Eli Brookens, Waterbury; Janie Cozzi and Liam Hale, Fayston.
At his trial Bourgoin through his attorney used an insanity defense during a 13-day trial. He was convicted of the five counts of second-degree murder and several other charges associated with stealing the police cruiser and crashing into the wreckage.
With his life sentence comes an automatic appeal to the Supreme Court. During that appeal, his lawyers alleged that the state failed to show that Bourgoin intended to cause harm and that the judge erred in admitting undisclosed testimony and in issuing instructions to the jury.
On the issue of whether the state showed that Bourgoin intended to cause harm, Supreme Court Associate Justice Harold Eaton Jr. wrote: “We conclude that this evidence was sufficient for the jury to find that defendant knowingly disregarded his subjective awareness of the very high risk of death or serious bodily injury that his actions posed to other persons driving on the interstate at that time. When the circumstances are such that the defendant “must have been aware” of his actions, the evidence -- whether direct or circumstantial -- “is sufficient to raise an inference of knowledge” and “withstand a motion for a judgment of acquittal.”
Bourgoin is serving a sentence of 30 years to life in prison at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans. He will be eligible for release in about 24 years with credit for time served.
The 29-page Supreme Court decision can be found here: https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/sites/default/files/documents/op19-319_1.pdf