(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says the recent double-murder in Isle La Motte shows that Vermont is not immune from irrational violence. The governor has asked state officials to offer assistance to the small community as it copes with the tragedy.
VPR’s John Dillon reports.
(Dillon) The two homicides have shocked Isle La Motte, a small community in the Champlain Islands northwest of Burlington. Police have charged two local teenagers, both of who apparently knew their victims, with two counts of first degree murder, arson and burglary.
Governor Douglas says he’s dispatched Health Commissioner Paul Jarris to Isle La Motte to see what help the state can offer.
(Douglas) “We’re in touch with the town. We’re letting them know what we can do to help. We’re coordinating with Northwest Vermont Mental Health Agency in St. Albans that serves that part of the state. It’s a very difficult tragedy for a very small town, one that’s quite close, perhaps because of its insular nature. But when a tragedy occurs in any community we all suffer as a state.”
(Dillon) Police say the two teenagers allegedly broke into the home of Anna and George Fleury in order to steal a safe. According to court documents, the two boys stabbed the couple when they were surprised by the break-in.
Douglas says crimes like this – like the murder three years ago of two Dartmouth College professors – shatter the image of innocent Vermont.
(Douglas) “We all think of ourselves as a state where we know each other and care about each other. And when behavior that departs from the norm occurs, it’s difficult to understand and explain. And perhaps it’s because of the impossibility of explanation in a case like this, we all come together and think about it, and realize that despite the fact that we think of Vermont as a special place it really has a lot of the problems that other places do.”
(Dillon) Douglas says he’s not opposed to the death penalty, but has no plans to try to change Vermont’s ban on capital punishment.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.