A 40-year-old woman from Barre Town has pleaded not guilty to shooting and killing a social worker with the Department for Children and Families on Friday. Jody Herring was arraigned in Washington County Court on Monday afternoon. She faces a single first-degree murder charge for allegedly killing Lara Sobel, who was part of a custody case involving Herring's daughter.
But Herring was not charged today with the murder of three relatives whose bodies were found Saturday morning, even though police believe the two crimes are connected. Attorney General Bill Sorrell, whose office is prosecuting the Herring case, joined VPR to discuss the latest on the charges.
On new information and Herring's possible motive
"I can't ethically speak to matters that are outside the record as reflected in court proceeding, so I'm somewhat limited in what I can say, but I think the affidavit of probable cause reflects the fact that there were a number of witnesses to Friday's shooting incident, that Ms. Sobel was shot twice with a long gun, or rifle, in the parking lot behind the state office building.
"I really can't speak to Ms. Herring's involvement with the Department for Children and Families, and as a matter of fact, her [attorney] moved the court for an order sealing all DCF records from being able to be mentioned or used in conjunction with this criminal prosecution. Clearly, we will oppose the motion."
On the connection to the murders of Herring's relatives
"Ms. Herring is the one person of interest who is the suspect in the death of her three relatives. That investigation is very actively ongoing. I think it's unlikely that the investigation will proceed far enough this week that we can make a charging decision."
On Herring's criminal record and how she obtained her gun
"She does have a prior criminal record. A number of different charges. It's a little unclear how many of those ended up in convictions, [but] to the extent that that's not in the public record, that will be made known fairly soon.
"I'm not going to speak to how she got possession of the firearm that was removed from her in Barre Friday afternoon, but it was a so-called long gun, or hunting rifle. I'm not going to speak to [whether she obtained it legally]."