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Suspect in fatal Rutland stabbing faces judge

RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - A Rutland man pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a local man Saturday.

According to court documents, the alleged murder was over $100 worth of cocaine. “The two individuals did know each other. They had agreed to meet to exchange money for drugs,” said Rutland Police Chief Brian Kilcullen.

Rutland Police responded to a 911 call reporting the stabbing Saturday evening. The victim, Trevor Vandenburgh, 32, had just walked to a nearby house and was bleeding badly. He was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“The incident occurred on Water Street. The Individual left Water Street and went to a residence on State Street,” Kilcullen said. Vandenburgh and another person, Raven Blanchard, went to Water Street to buy cocaine from Brandon McRae, 36. But, according to court documents, McRae pursued the pair after the deal, telling another witness that they robbed him. Then, authorities say, a fight ensued. Blanchard was hit in the face with a wrench-like object and Vandenburgh was stabbed multiple times.

“Through our investigation, we were able to piece together the events that transpired that night,” said Kilcullen.

McRae was arrested Sunday. He told police that he acted in self-defense, though, according to court documents, he told a roommate after the incident, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes” and “that he did not mean to hurt him that bad.”

Chief Kilcullen credits his officers for making the quick arrest and offered this message to anyone who may be concerned about the violent crime: “Whenever anything doesn’t look right, our request is that they call us.”

McRae is being held without bail. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

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