BARRE, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont woman accused of killing a social worker because she was upset about losing custody of her 9-year-old daughter has been charged with gunning down three relatives hours before.
Jody Herring's ex-boyfriend told police that she kept a handwritten "hit list," and prosecutors on Thursday charged her with killing three of the people on it: two cousins and an aunt. The former boyfriend also told police that Herring had made comments about how "people are going to pay" and "there's going to be an Armageddon" regarding visitation rights to see her daughter.
Herring has pleaded not guilty to shooting Department for Children and Families employee Lara Sobel as she exited a state office building in Barre on Aug. 7. Her lawyer David Sleigh said she will plead not guilty when she is arraigned Tuesday on the three new murder counts.
Herring had tried to buy guns at stores in Barre and Randolph in March but was denied because she couldn't pass a background check, authorities said.
The murder weapon was a hunting rifle that Herring stole from the estranged boyfriend, Henry Premont, police said in court documents.
Premont told police that Herring had lived with him in Williamstown from March until they broke up on Aug. 5. He told investigators that her hit list included the names of the three slain relatives, her mother, her mother's boyfriend and possibly her brother.
He also told police that she would often make threats about the visitation rights to see her daughter, including the "Armageddon" comment. He told police that Herring wanted to shoot someone in the head and "see brain matter."
Herring's older daughter told police that Herring had accused the three slain relatives — 43-year-old cousin Regina Herring, 48-year-old cousin Rhonda Herring and 73-year-old aunt Julie Falzarano — of calling child welfare officials, according to court documents. She also told police that her mother had even claimed to have paid $25,000 to have a motorcycle gang kill several relatives.
After Sobel was shot, police say bystanders subdued Herring and got the rifle away from her. Officers say Herring was "calm and laughing" when they arrived on the scene minutes later.
When police interviewed her about Sobel, Herring laughed and asked "did you find the other three yet?" according to a police affidavit.