Police

Metro Creative Connection

BRATTLEBORO — The death of a Vernon, Vt., man on Canal Street last month has been ruled a homicide, caused by blunt impacts to the head and torso during a fist fight, according to his death certificate.

The Brattleboro Police Department previously said officers responded to a motel on Canal Street the morning of July 31 for a report that a man was covered in blood, yelling and threatening someone.

On arrival, they found the man — Thomas E. Davis, 49, of Vernon, Vt. — unresponsive, according to previous news releases from the police department. First responders were unable to revive him.

Later that day, police announced they had cited Alex Symanski, 30, of Brattleboro, with simple assault in “relation to the ongoing investigation into this incident.”

Police have not said whether Symanski is accused of assaulting Davis. Aside from a citation that contains no details of the allegation, the police department has declined to release records about the case until Symanski’s arraignment Sept. 8.

Detective Lt. Jeremy Evans, who is investigating the case, and the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

The Brattleboro Police Department has called Davis’ death “suspicious.” But the department did not describe the death as a homicide in its three releases so far about the case, issued July 31, Aug. 4 and Aug. 13.

“We are currently awaiting the final autopsy report and toxicology screen from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,” the department said in the most recent release. “Investigation to this point shows that there is no reason to believe the general public is in any danger. As this is an ongoing, active investigation, no further information will be released at this time.”

As a legal term, homicide simply means that one person killed another. It encompasses crimes such as murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide, as well as justifiable homicides such as those done in self-defense.

The death certificate, registered by the state registrar Aug. 11, lists diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease — a buildup of plaque in the arteries — as contributing conditions in Davis’ death.

It says he was pronounced dead at 6:25 a.m. on July 31 after being injured at the address of the Econo Lodge on Canal Street.

The Brattleboro Reformer previously wrote that the reported fight occurred outside the motel.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS