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Alleged murderer of Fern Feather attempts prison escape

The man charged with the April 2022 fatal stabbing of Fern Feather, a biological male who identified as a woman, unsuccessfully tried to escape from the Northeast Correctional Complex (NECC) in St. Johnsbury Tuesday, April 18.

The VT Dept. of Corrections said Seth Brunell, 44, did not leave the secure section of the facility and did not pose a danger to the public during the event.

According to the Vermont State Police, they were notified per Department protocol. In addition, all correctional facilities conducted an emergency headcount, and all incarcerated individuals were accounted for statewide on Tuesday.

The Department initiated a formal After-Action Review to analyze the incident, as is standard practice in all critical incidents within correctional facilities. VSP will conduct a separate, independent investigation into the matter.

Seth Brunell is being held without bail at NECC on a charge of 2nd Degree Murder stemming from the stabbing and killing of a transgender woman in Morristown. Brunell was lodged in April 2022.

VDC reported on April 14 last year that an autopsy was conducted Wednesday, April 13 at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington on Fern Feather, 29, of Hinesburg, who was known to family as Zachary Barbeau. The autopsy determined the cause of death was a stab wound to the chest, and the manner of death was homicide.

The Vermont State Police has arrested a suspect on a charge of second-degree murder arising from the death Tuesday morning of a person in Morristown.

Seth Brunell, 43, who is transient, was ordered jailed without bail pending arraignment. Investigators determined that Brunell met Barbeau several days earlier, and the two had been spending time together. The Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department encountered the two in a vehicle at about 8:05 a.m. Tuesday, April 12 in the parking lot of the Lamoille North Supervisory Union.

Deputies checked on Barbeau and Brunell and waited for them to leave the parking lot. Sometime before 10:15 a.m., Barbeau and Brunell arrived in a vehicle on Duhamel Road near the intersection of Cadys Falls Road. According to the affidavit of probable cause, Brunell told police he was defending himself after Barbeau made a sexual advance and attacked him. Investigators observed no injuries or evidence of a struggle or an assault on Brunell.

Church Street stabber gets life sentence, probably in psych hospital – Louis Fortier, 42, was sentenced this week on one count of murder in the second degree in Vermont Superior Court.

Fortier previously pled no contest in the fatal stabbing of Richard Medina on March 29, 2017, in downtown Burlington.

Judge John Pacht presided over the case and sentenced Fortier to 20 years to life, with the entire sentence suspended except for 6 years with credit for time served, and lifetime supervision by the Department of Corrections.

Fortier will be required to follow special conditions of probation that require him to abide by all treatment recommendations by the Department of Mental Health, including all medication recommendations as directed by his provider.

While the sentence allows the Department of Corrections to have immediate and lifetime supervision over Fortier, the Court, along with the parties, anticipate Fortier will remain at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in Berlin for the foreseeable future.

“It is my hope that today’s sentencing brings some sense of peace to Richard Medina’s loved ones so that they may continue to heal from this tragedy,” said Attorney General Charity Clark.

The sentence imposed by the Court holds Fortier accountable for the unlawful killing of Richard Medina, while also acknowledging Fortier’s continued need for significant mental health treatment.

Police looking for pickup driver that struck cyclist – A cyclist was struck by a vehicle in Underhill Tuesday on Route 15 at around 6:15 p.m.

Police say a cyclist was hit by a motor vehicle that was traveling east as the cyclist was traveling east. The cyclist, identified as Edward Emerson, 43, of Jericho, sustained injuries and was transported to the UVM Medical Center.

Police say the driver of the vehicle did not stop and continued traveling east. The vehicle is described as a white pickup truck, extended cab with a rusted tail gate. Anyone that may have witnessed the crash is asked to contact the Vermont State Police at 802-878-7111.

– All reports sourced from Newport Dispatch

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