Burlington man pleads no contest to attempted murder, sex assault; guilty on assault charge

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BURLINGTON, Vermont — A Burlington man has pleaded no contest to charges that he sexually assaulted and tried to kill a female relative.

In court on Monday, 42-year-old James Scarola also pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic assault.

Prosecutors said he hit the woman with a baseball bat on Sept. 22, 2013. The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan said the victim and her family approved of the pleas, which will send Scarola to prison for 20 years to life. He still awaits sentencing on the domestic assault charge.

Scarola is a self-published author of horror and science fiction novels.

He was originally charged with aggravated attempted murder, which could have brought life in prison had he been convicted.

The victim suffered a brain injury. She has moved out of the area, Donovan said.

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