Crime and Justice

Bennington shooting suspect arraigned; no mention of Springfield kidnapping

Raul Cardona. Photo courtesy of police

A day after turning himself in to authorities, Raul Cardona of Springfield, Massachusetts, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in the Aug. 3 shooting death of Patrick Mullinnex in a Bennington apartment.

The shooting occurred just days after Mullinnex, 38, allegedly took part in a kidnapping in Springfield, Vermont, that police have said was tied to a dispute over drugs. Three other men have been charged in that case. Police identified Mullinnex as a suspect in that case shortly after his death.

At Tuesday’s arraignment in Bennington, State’s Attorney Erica Marthage asked that Cardona be held without bail and that he be ordered not to contact Mullinnex’s family. Judge Cortland Corsones agreed, citing the maximum penalty of life in prison and the court’s review of the 28-year-old defendant’s criminal history as reasons to keep him in custody.

Cardona was represented in court by Frederick Bragdon, Bennington supervising attorney for the Office of the Defender General.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Detective Corey Briggs, a witness called 911 at 9:14 a.m. on Aug. 3 to report a man with a gunshot wound was in an apartment at 324 Pleasant St. 

Police found the man lying on the floor, unresponsive, according to the affidavit. Members of Bennington Rescue declared the man dead when they arrived. He had been shot several times in the chest, according to police, who identified the victim as Mullinnex.

The witness told police that Mullinnex had been their boyfriend for several weeks, and he was talking to a man in the apartment when he was shot, according to the affidavit. The witness said they tried to help Mullinnex before calling 911. The witness said they and Mullinnex had spent several days in the Bennington apartment after another person gave them a ride from Springfield, Vermont.

The witness identified Cardona as the alleged shooter in the Bennington apartment and said he was from Springfield, Massachusetts, and had been “really good friends” with the victim, according to the police affidavit. 

The witness told police that after Cardona shot Mullinnex, he said to the witness, “I’m sorry, sis,” and when the witness asked what they should do, Cardona told them to “run,” according to the affidavit.

The affidavit did not make any connection between Mullinnex’s death and the Springfield kidnapping.

Mullinnex was one of four people accused of kidnapping a Springfield man on July 30 in an apparent dispute over drugs. Investigators said Mullinnex and the three other men forced the kidnapping victim to leave his house, robbed him of cash and held him at a location in Chester, but the victim escaped.

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Fred Thys

About Fred

Fred Thys covers business and the economy for VTDigger. He is originally from Bethesda, Maryland, and graduated from Williams College with a degree in political science. He is the recipient of the Radio, Television, and Digital News Association's Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting and for Enterprise Reporting. Fred has worked at The Journal of Commerce, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News, and WBUR, and has written for Le Matin, The Dallas Morning News, and The American Homefront Project.

Email: [email protected]

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