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Quadruple Murder Suspect Is Competent

Published: 2/10/2017 11:25:28 PM
Modified: 2/10/2017 11:25:40 PM

Barre, Vt. — A lawyer for a Vermont woman charged with killing three relatives and a social worker in 2015 said on Friday he will no longer pursue dismissal of the case on the grounds that his client is incompetent because he doesn’t have evidence to support that argument.

“I don’t have evidence currently that she’s incompetent,” defense attorney David Sleigh said in a telephone interview.

A hearing on the issue in the murder case against Jody Herring was scheduled for next week. Instead, the next hearing will be Feb. 27 on the status of the case.

Herring, of Barre, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the deaths of social worker Lara Sobel, 48; Herring’s cousins Regina Herring, 43, and Rhonda Herring, 48; and her aunt Julie Falzarano, 73.

Police said Herring was upset about losing custody of her 9-year-old daughter and believed Sobel had a role in the custody issue. Herring also believed her relatives had reported her to the state Department for Children and Families, according to court documents.

Sobel was shot outside her Barre workplace in August 2015. Police said Herring’s three relatives already were dead when Sobel was shot.

Herring has been evaluated several times by psychiatrists working on behalf of the defense and the state. She was found incompetent twice by psychiatrists working for the defense, Sleigh said. But he decided to withdraw his motion to dismiss after a third evaluation, he said.

A psychiatrist for the state found Herring competent and prosecutors maintain Herring is fit for trial.

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