A Monkton man charged with gunning down his stepfather, is looking to strike a plea deal with state prosecutors, according to one of his defense lawyers.
Kory Lee George, 32, has pleaded not guilty to multiple state charges, including first-degree murder in the death of David Auclair, 45, of Williston. Auclair was lured to a remote area in Hinesburg and shot nine times on July 11, 2019, records show.
George also is facing a pair of federal charges of illegal possession of two unrelated firearms as a five-time convicted felon. One of those guns was used to kill Auclair, state police said.
“Mr. George and his state court attorneys are negotiating with the state prosecutor a potential resolution of the state charges,” Chief Federal Public Defender Michael Desautels said in a new motion filed this week.
“Achieving such a resolution requires having a reasonable estimate and expectation, if not clarity, of a likely sentence in the federal case — if he were convicted there,” the veteran defense lawyer wrote.
Desautels is trying to get one of the two gun charges dismissed so federal prosecutors are unable to refile it later. Prosecutors have proposed dismissing a gun charge that says he possessed a stolen Beretta — the weapon used to kill his stepfather. The gun was among several firearms George stole during a Colchester burglary the night before the homicide, police said.
The prosecution maintains trying the Beretta gun case in federal court would be like prosecuting the state homicide. Assistant U.S. Attorney Spencer Willig said many of the details are identical and he argues he believes it would be a waste of time and resources.
Not so, said Desautels. The federal charge is only whether George possessed the gun at any time while a felon. It does not have to get into all the details the state would need to prove a homicide charge, Desautels said.
“Thus, the government’s case on count one would be simple, and much more straightforward than the government presents,” he wrote.
Desautels maintains that if federal prosecutors are serious in their motion seeking dismissing of the Beretta case, then they should be blocked from being able to refile it.
David Auclair’s bullet-riddled body was part of an execution-styled homicide orchestrated by his estranged wife, Angela Auclair — who also is George’s mother, state police and prosecutors maintain.
The state has been on a break from trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic but could resume in September.
Federal trials in Vermont could also resume in September. Judge Christina Reiss has scheduled opening statements and testimony to begin in George’s trial on Oct. 27. Jury selection is set for Sept. 28.
Desautels said, before George agrees to any state plea bargain, he needs to know how the two charges in federal court might be resolved.
“Because he was charged and arrested on the federal indictment before being charged in state court with the murder and burglary charges, he would serve any federal sentence before any possible state sentence,” Desautels said.
There is concern that the prosecution could seek consecutive sentences for the two federal gun charges, Desautels said in his five-page motion to block any re-filing of the gun charge if the judge agrees to dismiss it.
“His real concern is being sentenced to the 10 years maximum on count two of the federal indictment, then be sentenced to the maximum 35 years (to) life on the top count of the state charges, and to then be sentenced on a conviction of the re-filed count one of the federal indictment,” Desautels wrote.
The charge in question is George possessing a stolen 9-mm Beretta between July 10 and 14, 2019.
The second count maintains on Aug. 2, 2019, George possessed a 12-gauge shotgun in Vermont after it had been reported stolen from a camp in St. Lawrence County in upstate New York.
Desautels maintains federal prosecutors should not be allowed to re-file the gun charge if the state’s homicide case falls apart at any trial.
Desautels does not represent George on the state charges related to Auclair’s death. But his motion indicates that plea talks in the state case are underway — and maybe in the federal case.
“Mr. George would be prevented from achieving a combined resolution, by plea, to the state case and the federal case, if count one were left hanging over his head,” Desautels wrote.
Police claim Auclair received a late-night call sending him to the LaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest trailhead parking lot off Gilman Road in Hinesburg.
The victim’s wife, Angela Auclair, 47, has pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding in the commission of a felony, first degree murder, and obstruction of justice.
Angela Auclair set up a dinner for her estranged husband and a mutual friend at a Colchester restaurant the night before the killing, police said. While at dinner, Angela Auclair’s boyfriend dropped off George near the home of the dinner guest, who later returned home to find guns were stolen in a burglary, court records show.
The obstruction charge maintains Auclair instructed at least one witness in the case to lie to investigators for her, police said.