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Three New Murder Charges For Suspected Killer Of DCF Caseworker

Jody Herring, seen here in court in August 2015, took a plea deal Thursday, pleading guilty to one count of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder.
Toby Talbot
AP/Times Argus/File
Jody Herring, seen here in court on August 10th, was charged with three counts of aggravated murder on Thursday.

The attorney general’s office has filed new charges against Jody Herring, who was charged last week with first-degree murder for the August 7 shooting death of a Department for Children and Families social worker.

Herring allegedly shot DCF Social Worker Lara Sobel outside state offices in Barre on August 7. Officials suspect the killing was in connection to Herring losing custody of her young daughter.

Documents show the gun recovered at that scene was also used in the murders of three of Herring’s relatives in Berlin. The bodies of Rhonda Herring, Regina Herring and their mother Julie Falzarano were found in a Berlin home on August 8.

Rhonda and Regina were Jody Herring’s cousins, and Falzarano was her aunt.

In court documents filed Thursday, the state charged Jody Herring with three counts of aggravated murder. The charges all carry a minimum sentence of life in prison, the documents say.

The new filings also provide new details about Herring’s behavior in the months leading up to the killings.

In March, according to an affidavit from Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Todd Baxter of the major crimes unit, Herring tried to buy a handgun on two separate occasions.

On March 11, Herring was turned away when R&L Archery in Barre checked the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). She was attempting to buy a “handgun” at the time, records show. Four days later, Mid State Sports in Randolph turned her away when she tried to buy a Ruger SR-40 handgun.

The affidavit supporting the murder charges says Herring broke into her ex-boyfriend Henry Premont's apartment and allegedly stole his Remington 700 .270 caliber rifle that police say was used in all four murders. 

Premont — who was arrested after an armed standoff with police on August 12 — told police in an interview that Herring kept a “hit list” that he saw months before the shootings took place. On the hit list, according to the documents, were two of the three Berlin victims as well as Jody Herring's mother, stepfather and "possibly" her brother.
A relative saw Jody Herring's car at her mother's house the day of the killings, but said it was the only vehicle at the home. An ex-boyfriend's sister also reported that Herring pulled into her driveway and stayed there for a few minutes on the day of the killings "moving her arms as if she was manipulating an object," but left without getting out of her car.

Premont also told police that Herring “would often make comments about how ‘people are going to pay. There’s going to be an Armageddon.’”

The affidavit also says Herring seemed to mention other victims the day she was arrested, before the three bodies were discovered in Berlin.

It says that as Barre police were escorting Herring back to a holding cell after interviewing her the day of Sobel’s murder, “she laughed and uttered ‘did you find the other three yet?’”

The next morning, Rhonda Herring’s daughter arrived home to find her mother, aunt and grandmother dead.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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