Morristown man denies federal gun charge after alleged threats to police officer

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MORRISTOWN — Jordon M. Phelps, 34, of Morristown, pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of illegal firearm possession as an unlawful substance user. The charges followed Phelps’ alleged threats to a police officer and subsequent weapon seizure.

Phelps, residing at 148 Brooklyn Street, was accused of making multiple threatening calls to Morristown Police, targeting Detective Lt. Todd Baxter.

Baxter, a retired Vermont State Police officer, returned part-time to assist with major criminal investigations.

Following these calls, authorities confiscated a loaded Marlin 30-30 caliber rifle from Phelps’ home on March 13.

Earlier, Phelps had faced state charges for stalking and criminal threatening, alongside an unrelated simple assault charge.

After his initial release on bail, the FBI intervened, leading to his federal detention. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle ordered Phelps’ detention, citing his criminal history, violence propensity, unstable employment, and substance use.

During his investigation, Stowe Police, addressing conflict of interest concerns, discovered the rifle and additional items, including an airsoft rifle and cellphones, at Phelps’ residence.

Phelps, represented by defense lawyer Chander Matson, initially voiced a “guilty” plea, which was quickly amended to “not guilty.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Stendig highlighted the substantial evidence against Phelps, who now faces a May 28 deadline for pre-trial motions.

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