The South Burlington woman who was an eyewitness to a drug-related homicide in Lamoille County more than 18 months ago has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of being an accessory after the fatal shooting.

Samantha L. Simms, 34, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court Nov. 17 to the single charge of knowingly assisting Taylor Ruffin Herrington “in order to hinder and prevent (his) apprehension, trial and punishment” on drug and gun charges, the indictment said.

Herrington also pleaded not guilty in federal court on Monday to three felony charges, including using a firearm during drug trafficking and causing the death of Michael P. Haines on March 3, 2020. The charge maintains Herrington used and carried a firearm while conspiring to distribute heroin and crack cocaine.

Judge Christina Reiss continued the initial detention order, which was issued after his arrest March 19.

State police have said Herrington, 35, of Philadelphia, fired multiple shots into the Jeffersonville duplex of Haines, 39, and killed him about 3 a.m. March 3, 2020. Herrington initially denied a federal gun charge that could net him a life sentence, if convicted. He also has pleaded innocent to a heroin conspiracy charge.

Simms drove Herrington to the house in her truck and then brought him to Burlington after the shooting, which was witnessed also by the victim’s fiancée, state police said. Authorities then set up Simms a few hours later in a drug deal in Winooski to learn the full name of the shooter, who was only know as “Tee.”

Now the stakes are higher with new and more serious charges filed against Herrington — and Simms finally added as a defendant in the shooting case.

Simms has been under federal supervised release terms and federal magistrate Kevin Doyle agreed last week to allow Simms to remain free. She is restricted to Vermont and cannot possess drugs, alcohol, any dangerous weapons and is subject to drug testing. She also needs to avoid witnesses and Herrington.

Simms is a longtime owner of a condominium in the D section of Stonehedge North off Spear Street in South Burlington.

Simms is a 2005 Harwood Union High School graduate and received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Vermont in 2011. Simms operated horse barns in Shelburne and Charlotte for several years.

State police have said the Jeffersonville homicide appears to be over the reported theft of 60 to 70 bundles of heroin by Haines from Herrington, who had been visiting for a day.

No state homicide charges have been filed in the shooting in Lamoille County.

After her arrest on the drug charge the federal court learned Simms had considerable assets including an estimated $1.5 million in stocks and bonds.

Then-magistrate Judge John M. Conroy told Simms the government would not provide her a defense lawyer at taxpayer expense, and she would need to hire her own. Simms eventually got a pass on going to jail for the drug sale. She received a time-served sentence, was placed under federal supervision for three years and fined $4,000. Simms has violated the terms of her supervised release multiple times and in multiple ways, records show, and remains a suspect in a stabbing in Winooski, assistant U.S. attorney Wendy Fuller has said.

(1) comment

O vakansiyalar

A big mistake in a man's life.

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