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Shooting victim when brother killed is charged with federal drug trafficking

by Mike Donoghue,

BURLINGTON — A Leicester woman and her longtime boyfriend, who was critically wounded when his brother was fatally shot last summer, pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to federal drug trafficking charges.

Laryssa Dutton, 29, and Larry L. Lanpher Jr., 32, denied in U.S. District Court the single felony charge that they conspired in Vermont and elsewhere with others to knowingly and intentionally distribute both crack and cocaine between January 2023 and August 2023.

Vermont State Police and the FBI began an investigation into the wounding of Lanpher and the fatal shooting of his brother, Scott D. Lanpher, 35, at their family residence on U.S. 7 on about 9:55 p.m. June 4, 2023.

Zaquikon T. Roy, 35, of St. Albans and Rutland has been identified in court records as the shooter of both Lanpher brothers.

Lanpher, who is facing the new drug charge, is listed as an eyewitness to his older brother’s fatal shooting.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Fuller had said when Roy was initially charged in federal court last year that the shooting centered on a possible attempt by the Lanphers to steal money and drugs from Roy.

Fuller elaborated a little more on Wednesday in court papers and said “conduct on the part of Larry Lanpher Jr., Laryssa Dutton and others on June 4, 2023 led to a drug dispute with Zaquikon Roy which resulted in the shooting and homicide.”

The veteran prosecutor said Dutton and Lanpher have been involved in distributing crack and cocaine since at least January 2023 and even continued to sell drugs after the homicide. Both defendants have significant crack addictions, Fuller said in court papers.

When police arrived to arrest Lanpher and Dutton Tuesday at their trailer in Leicester, Lanpher remained inside smoking crack before Dutton answered the door, Fuller said.

Once inside, police found Lanpher in bed with a crack pipe, she said.

Fuller said given the significant history of the two defendants for ongoing use of illicit drugs and their various failures to appear in state court when ordered, both needed to be held in federal custody to keep the community safe.

Burlington lawyer Richard Bothfeld, on behalf of Lanpher, and Middlebury lawyer Devin McLaughlin, on behalf of Dutton, both said in federal court Wednesday afternoon they would not fight the detention motion for the time being.

Bothfield and McLaughlin both said they expect to return to court to ask for the release of their clients once drug treatment plans can be developed for each.

McLaughlin said it has become a little harder to get detained inmates into treatment because the Vermont Department of Corrections won’t assist in the effort. The new DOC policy has become a common complaint heard in federal court.

Federal Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle was told that Dutton and Lanpher both have previously attended Valley Vista for their drug addiction.

Lanpher initially said “guilty” when asked for his plea by Doyle, but Bothfeld corrected him and said it was “not guilty.”

Bothfeld and McLaughlin both asked for 90 days to review the evidence and consider pre-trial motions. Doyle set a June 24 deadline.

Dutton received a misdemeanor conviction this month in state court for cocaine possession from an incident in March 2023, records show. Fuller said records show Dutton was out on conditions from state court in that drug case and the homicide and drug incident happened three months later.

Dutton and Lanpher also were arrested in October 2023 on other unrelated cocaine possession charges, but they both blew off state court hearings, Fuller said in court papers.

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