Category Archives: St. Johnsbury

Patricia Prue wants murder trial moved

ST. JOHNSBURY — A woman charged with her husband in the killing of a Vermont teacher wants her trial moved out of Caledonia County.
A lawyer for Patricia Prue says extensive media coverage of the case makes it highly unlikely for her to get a fair trial in her home county.
Patricia and Allen Prue are charged with killing 33-year-old Melissa Jenkins of St. Johnsbury and dumping her body in the Connecticut River in March.
Thirty-three-year-old Patricia Prue faces a charge of aggravated murder, accusing her of killing Jenkins during a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. Thirty-year-old Allen Prue is charged with first-degree murder. Both have pleaded not guilty.
No trial dates have been set for the Prues.

Man admits killing wife

ST. JOHNSBURY — A Vermont man has admitted killing his estranged wife in a mall parking lot in 2009.
Benjamin Berwick of Lyndon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Monday in the death of 45-year-old Anna Berwick.
Berwick admitted slitting her throat in the parking lot of Green Mountain Mall in December of 2009.
The 51-year-old was found nearby suffering from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
He was expected to go on trial on July 9.
WCAX-TV reported that under the plea deal, he will serve 18 years in prison.

Couple pleads innocent in teacher killing

The Associated Press

St. JOHNSBURY — A snowplow driver and his wife who are accused of killing a popular prep school teacher and dumping her naked body in the Connecticut River in March faced new charges of premeditated murder on Tuesday.

Allen Prue pleaded innocent to first-degree murder in the killing of Melissa Jenkins. Patricia Prue pleaded innocent to a charge of aggravated murder, accusing her of killing Jenkins during a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault.

A police affidavit says the Prues, who had been charged with second-degree murder and have been jailed without bail, planned to kill the 33-year-old single mother from Waterford, buying a stun gun and prepaid cellphone and driving by her home and the dam in Barnet where they later dumped her body. It says they lured her out of her house with a ruse about a broken-down car and strangled, beat and electrocuted her.

A fellow inmate told police that Patricia Prue, 33, said they chose Jenkins because of her gorgeous blond hair and because she felt socially snubbed by Jenkins, the affidavit said. The inmate said she overheard Prue saying that Jenkins wouldn’t recommend Allen Prue, 30, for snowplowing jobs and that they sexually assaulted her.

Police also said they found a ripped-up note that Patricia Prue had written in jail with the phrases “We picked her because,” “sexually attracted” and “It was fun.”

The latest news shook family and friends of Jenkins, a science teacher at the St. Johnsbury Academy and devoted mother of a 2-year-old boy.

“What we feel is rage and anger and pain and sadness, sickness, empty,” said Eric Berry, of Lyndonville, who is married to Jenkins’ cousin. He and his wife attended Tuesday’s arraignment.

“Nothing is going to bring Melissa back so therefore there’s no justice,” he said. “We’re just trying to work through this as a family.”

Jenkins’ toddler son was found sleeping in her abandoned car on a remote road near her home the night police say she was abducted.

Police say Allen Prue had plowed Jenkins’ driveway a couple of years ago. A friend of Jenkins told police that he had asked Jenkins out a couple of times and that she felt uncomfortable around him, according to earlier court documents. She stopped having him plow, and in autumn 2011 he showed up drunk at her home asking if he could plow her driveway the following year, an affidavit said.

The night Jenkins disappeared, her former boyfriend told police she called him saying that she had gotten a weird call from a couple who used to plow her driveway and she was going to help them. She wanted someone to know what she was doing, the documents say.

Allen Prue’s mother and sister, who attended Tuesday’s arraignment, declined to comment.

Prues face new charges in teacher killing

St. JOHNSBURY — A Vermont couple accused of luring a popular St. Johnsbury teacher from her home, killing her and dumping her body in the Connecticut River in March are facing upgraded murder charges in the death of Melissa Jenkins.
Allen and Patricia Prue of Waterford are expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.
Allen Prue is charged with first-degree murder; Patricia Prue is now charged with aggravated murder, accusing her of murder while perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate a sexual assault.
A police affidavit say the Prues planned in advance to kill the 33-year-old single mother, buying a stun gun and prepaid cellphone before the crime, and then strangled, beat and electrocuted her.
The Prues previously pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges.

Trial set for man accused of killing wife

ST. JOHNSBURY — A Vermont man charged with stabbing his wife to death in the parking lot of a St. Johnsbury mall is due to go on trial next month.
A prosecutor says Benjamin Berwick rejected an offer to resolve the case through a plea deal.
Caledonia County State’s Attorney Lisa Warren says the trial is scheduled to begin July 9.
The 51-year-old Berwick, of Lyndon, has been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of his 45-year-old estranged wife Anna Berwick in the parking lot of the Green Mountain Mall on Dec. 28, 2009.
The Caledonian Record reports Benjamin Berwick was found by police at the scene of the attack suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
He’s being held at the Newport prison.

Event to benefit Melissa Jenkins’ son

ST. JOHNSBURY — St. Johnsbury Academy is co-sponsoring a charity golf tournament to benefit the young son of slain teacher Melissa Jenkins.
The academy is teaming up with the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, N.H., to host “Tee It Up for Ty” at the resort May 12.
Jenkins was a science teacher at the academy. Her 2-year-old son, Ty, was found sleeping and unharmed in her car on the side of the road. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the Melissa Jenkins Memorial Trust.
The benefit will include a barbecue and silent auction in addition to the 18-hole, four-person scramble format tournament. Actor Luis Guzman, who is the parent of St. Johnsbury Academy students, will be the master of ceremonies.
To register for the tournament as a team or individual, call the resort’s golf clubhouse at 603-278-4653 or register online at Registration fees are $85 per person for those who wish to golf. To attend just the barbecue and silent auction is $25.
The benefit is accepting sponsors starting at $300 as well as monetary donations and silent auction items.

Child used by mom to smuggle drugs into jail

ST. JOHNSBURY — An arrest warrant has been issued for a 32-year-old Vermont woman charged with using her 4-year-old daughter to try to smuggle narcotics into prison for her husband.
Ami Lamell was due in court Monday to answer charges that included smuggling drugs into a jail and cruelty to a child, but she did not appear so a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Court documents say a correctional officer saw Lamell’s husband, Bruce Lamell, take something out of the girl’s pocket during a Jan. 3 visit and put it in his mouth.
Officers said Ami Lamell later admitted wrapping three pills used to treat opiate addiction and placing them in her daughter’s pocket.
The Caledonian Record reports officers later retrieved tablets wrapped in a yellow balloon.

Court: Patricia Prue provides DNA

ST. JOHNSBURY — Court records say a Vermont woman charged in the killing of a prep school teacher has provided DNA samples to police.
The Caledonian-Record reports the samples were obtained from Patricia Prue at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Center on April 18. A judge had denied her lawyer’s motion to dismiss the request for DNA collection.
The 33-year-old Prue and her husband, 30-year-old Allen Prue of Waterford are charged with second-degree murder and unauthorized disposal of a body in the March 28 killing of Melissa Jenkins of St. Johnsbury.
Police say Allen Prue, who used to plow Jenkins’ driveway, told investigators that he and his wife lured her out of her home with a story about a broken down car and he strangled her. Patricia Prue has denied being involved.

Suspects in teacher death waive bail hearing

ST. JOHNSBURY — The couple accused of killing a Vermont prep school teacher have waived a court hearing that would have reviewed their bail status.
Allen and Patricia Prue were ordered held without bail in the March 25 death of Melissa Jenkins. They have been charged with killing Jenkins after luring her from her St. Johnsbury home with a ruse about a broken down car.
The Prues have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and improper disposal of a body.
The Burlington Free Press reports a judge in St. Johnsbury scheduled for Friday and later canceled a bail review hearing. Mark Eagle, Patricia Prue’s attorney, declined to comment on his decision to forgo the hearing. He said he has no plans to ask the court at a later date to review bail.

Fired town manager wants job back

ST. JOHNSBURY — The former town manager in St. Johnsbury wants his job back.
Ralph Nelson says he wasn’t told why he was fired last week. The Caledonian Record reports he is seeking a legal injunction against the town select board that will allow him to return to work.
Nelson has been town manager since August 2010. He was dismissed following a unanimous vote of no confidence by the select board last week. The board said it did so “for certain actions” performed by Nelson that were “directly against the will of the board and were misrepresented” by him to the board.
St. Johnsbury Select Board Chairman Jim Rust said he couldn’t comment on Nelson’s statement.