Suspect in Christmas Shooting Pleads Not Guilty
A tearful Anne-Marie Whiteway turns to her family before the start of her arraignment yesterday at Windsor District Court in White River Junction. Whiteway was charged with second degree murder charges in the shooting death of Newbury, Vt., resident Dale Rock, who died at his home on Christmas night. The judge denied bail to Whiteway at the hearing. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Anne-Marie Whiteway talks with public defender Dan Sedon during her arraignment in Windsor District Court in White River Junction yesterday for allegedly shooting and killing Dale Rock at his home in Newbury.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
White River Junction — A Bradford, Vt., woman pleaded not guilty yesterday to a charge that she shot and killed her ex-boyfriend at his Newbury, Vt., home on Christmas night .
Anne-Marie Whiteway, who is charged with second-degree murder following the shooting death of Dale Rock, 43, was ordered held without bail at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington, Vt. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Whiteway, who was wearing patterned pajama pants, a blue shirt and light blue Crocs, was ushered into Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction yesterday afternoon. As she sat down at the defendant’s table, Whiteway, who had her 51st birthday on Tuesday, turned to a group of supporters sitting directly behind her.
“I didn’t do anything,” she mouthed to the seven people, who included her mother, father and her daughter, who had brought a baby carrier into the courtroom.
“Dad,” said Whiteway, “I didn’t do it.”
During the arraignment, Orange County Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Kainen argued Whiteway should be held without bail because two individuals — both of whom were friends of Rock and were reportedly at his house at the time of the shooting — gave similar witness accounts. Also, he said, police have found fault with Whiteway’s version of events.
An affidavit gives the following account.
Whiteway and Rock, who had been in a relationship, separated about a month ago. Stephanie Plante, 33, had been staying at Rock’s residence, a “converted carriage shed” on Doe Run Lane, for about a week and a half following troubles she was having with her estranged husband.
Whiteway allegedly had been calling Rock during that time period, claiming he and Plante were in a sexual relationship. In the affidavit, Plante maintains that was not the case.
While Plante and Rock were eating dinner shortly after 8:30 on Christmas evening, Rock took a call on his cell phone from Whiteway.
Police received a 911 call from Plante, made from inside Rock’s residence, at 10:11 p.m. Tuesday. Accounts diverge on what happened leading up to that call.
According to Stephanie Plante, when Whiteway called Rock, she overheard Whiteway calling her names. Shortly after, Whiteway came to Rock’s house unannounced.
“This is Anne-Marie,” Whiteway allegedly said. “Open this (expletive) door.”
Rock opened the door, and Whiteway jumped on Plante, who was on the bed . After a brief tussle, Rock pulled Whiteway off Plante and brought her outside . He told her he’d get his shoes.
The affidavit states that Whiteway opened the door and began yelling that it was taking Rock too long. She reached for her waist area and allegedly said — “(Expletive), you are the reason he is dying” — and then Plante heard several “pop” sounds she thought were gunshots. Rock fell to the ground. Whiteway then left in a dark blue Subaru Legacy, according to the affidavit.
The other witness, Paul Vysocky, had been staying with Rock at the carriage shed since Sunday, the affidavit states. According to police, his description of the Christmas night events lined up with Stephanie Plante’s, though he told police he couldn’t see Whiteway when he heard three popping sounds.
An autopsy revealed Rock had been shot once in the head.
After the hearing yesterday, Vermont State Police Det. Sgt. Jacob Zorn told reporters that police do not have the murder weapon. However, .22-caliber and .38-caliber ammunition were found at Whiteway’s house, the affidavit states. Ballistics testing found the bullet that hit Rock was .22-caliber.
When Zorn informed Whiteway she was being charged with the murder, she asked him how he could prove she did it when there was no gun, “which indicated to me that she knew that the murder weapon would not be found,” Zorn wrote in the affidavit.
“It should be noted that (Whiteway) was in custody prior to the executions of the search warrants and was not told of the disposition or any of the evidence or lack thereof,” Zorn wrote.
When police interviewed Whiteway on Wednesday morning, she told them she called Rock, asked him to talk, and drove to his house on the property of 28 Doe Lane with Mike Plante, Stephanie Plante’s estranged husband, according to the affidavit. She told police she dropped Plante off farther up the road.
When she arrived at Rock’s house, he told her he had to put his shoes on and closed the door. After a while, he still hadn’t come out, so she went inside, where Stephanie Plante allegedly started a confrontation with her, according to the affidavit. She said Rock broke up the fight by throwing her onto the floor twice and then throwing her outside. She told police she then left, and heard three popping sounds as she was walking to her car.
Whiteway told police she thought Mike Plante might have walked through the woods to Rock’s residence and shot him. According to the affidavit, she wouldn’t elaborate further.
Police said they didn’t find any footprints in the snowy woods around the carriage house. Also, in interviews with Mike Plante and several guests he had at his home Christmas night, police determined he was at his own residence when the shooting occurred, according to the affidavit.
Whiteway’s assigned public defender, Dan Sedon, declined to comment after the arraignment. The next hearing, a status conference, is scheduled for Feb. 20, according to court documents. Other than a DUI charge Whiteway received in October, she had no prior criminal record.
As the hearing ended and Whiteway was ushered back out of the courtroom, she again turned around and quietly told her supporters she was innocent.
“I love you so much,” one of the men said, before the group was escorted from the room.
Jon Wolper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3248.