Police say fight preceded Vt. shooting death
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. - The woman accused of shooting and killing a Newbury, Vt., man at his home Tuesday night first fought with a woman who was at Dale Rock's place when she arrived, and later while in custody tried to blame the killing on another acquaintance of hers, according to Vermont State Police.
Immediately before she opened fire on her former boyfriend, Rock, Anne-Marie Whiteway yelled at Stephanie Plante, "Whore, you are the reason he is dying," Plante told homicide investigators. Whiteway, 51, of Bradford, Vt., was arraigned Thursday on a charge of second-degree murder in the killing of Rock, who died from a single .22-caliber shot to the head, according to state police.
Whiteway, accompanied by her attorney, Dan Sedon of Chelsea, Vt., entered a not guilty plea to the charge in Vermont District Court in White River Junction. Judge Robert P. Gerety ordered that she be held without bail pending trial.
Police, responding to a 911 report of multiple gunshots, arrived at Rock's Doe Hill Road home in Newbury around 10 p.m. Christmas night and found him dead on the floor of the small converted storage shed.
Plante, who is separated from her husband, Michael Plante, and was staying with Rock, made the call after her physical struggle with Whiteway, and after she "saw Anne-Marie pull something from her waist area," followed by three to four "pops," according to Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Jacob Zorn's five-page sworn affidavit on file at the court.
Earlier, Whiteway had called Rock's cell phone repeatedly, yelling and swearing about Plante's presence in his home, she said. Soon afterward, Whiteway arrived and started pounding on the door, demanding to be let in.
When Rock opened the door, "Anne-Marie ran through the door and jumped on Stephanie," who was on the bed, according to Plante, Zorn wrote.
Rock helped subdue Whiteway and got her outside, but she appeared at the door again moments later, yelled her angry comments at Plante, then fired shots at Rock and took off in a car, Plante told Zorn.
Another man, Paul Vysocky, 45, was at Rock's home when police arrived. He was also questioned, according to Zorn. Vysocky said he had recently started staying at Rock's home, and gave police an account of Tuesday night's events that was similar to Plante's.
Plante told Zorn she had been separated from her husband for about a month and said her relationship with Rock had not been sexual, according to Zorn's affidavit.
Wednesday in Newbury, however, Plante identified herself to a news photographer as Rock's girlfriend. After police apprehended Whiteway early Wednesday morning at a relative's Chase Hollow Road residence in Bradford, she tried to blame Rock's killing on Michael Plante, claiming she had picked him up at his Newbury home before going to Rock's place. She told Zorn she dropped him off near the home before she went in, and said Plante then made his way through woods to the back of the house.
But Zorn wrote that investigators later found no footprints in the snow or other sign that anyone had been out back. Later Wednesday, Zorn told Whiteway that she was being charged with murder.
"How can you prove that, There is no gun (?)" she asked, according to Zorn.
That "indicated to me that she knew that the murder weapon would not be found," wrote Zorn, who said Whiteway was "not told of the disposition of any of the evidence or lack thereof."
Rock, a lifelong resident of the area, was a familiar figure around Bradford, Wells River, Vt., and Woodsville, N.H.
Michael Kainen of the Orange County State's Attorney office is the prosecutor. Although it's an Orange County, Vt., case, the session took place in a Windsor County courtroom because it's closer to where Whiteway is being held in Springfield, Vt., a court spokeswoman said Thursday. She said Whiteway is likely to be transferred to the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington where women inmates in Vermont are usually lodged.
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Bob Hookway may be reached at email@example.com.