Man pleads not guilty in slashing death of Bennington woman

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge in the slashing death of a woman in Bennington.

Darren Pronto, 32, of Pownal, entered the plea during a Tuesday hearing in Bennington County Superior Court. He was ordered held without bail.

Pronto is charged with attacking Emily Hamann, 26, on the Riverwalk path in Bennington on Monday. Hamann was later pronounced dead at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.

Court documents say Pronto attacked the victim "by lying in wait and intentionally killing Emily Hamann with a knife.” A knife was found in Pronto's pocket when he was apprehended by police.

A home security camera recorded the attack.

Police have not offered a motive.

Court documents say Pronto's sister told investigators he had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia and that over the weekend he had carved the phrase "Murder Time'' into a wall of his mother's home.

Before he was taken into custody, he was saying unintelligible things about Hamann, the documents say.

Pronto’s attorney Fred Bragdon asked a judge for a bail hearing at a later date so he would have time to gather information.