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Suspected shooter in St. Jay murder appears in court

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - The man police say pulled the trigger in a St. Johnsbury murder last month appeared before a judge Thursday morning.

Rafael Rodriguez, 34, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, attempted assault and robbery, and burglary charges. Court paperwork says Rodriguez and three other suspects planned to rob and steal drugs from Israel Jimenez Lugo, 49, at his St. Johnsbury apartment between December 13th and 14th. Police say the group went to the apartment, and in the process of carrying out the robbery, Rodriguez shot and killed Jimenez Lugo.

Michael Ringuette, 55, of St, Johnsbury and Natasha Cady, 29, of Barton pleaded not guilty Wednesday to aiding in the commission of first-degree murder and assault and robbery charges.

Rodriguez is being held without bail.

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