Criminal investigators are continuing their probe into the fatal shooting of a man in Hinesburg four months ago – and the subsequent arrest of his stepson for possessing the handgun used to kill him.
Now authorities are hoping a new federal search warrant for phone records for Kory Lee George, 31, of Monkton, will bring to light more evidence in the unsolved homicide.
George has pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington to two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms.
The five-time convicted felon is being held without bail pending trial.
The two guns include possession of a stolen 9-mm Beretta, the weapon used to fatally shoot his stepfather David C. Auclair, 45, of Williston, in Hinesburg on July 11, Vermont State Police said. The other is a 12-gauge shotgun reported stolen from a camp in upstate New York in the spring, police said.
No arrests have been made in the homicide case.
Auclair’s bullet-riddled body was found at the LaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest trailhead parking lot off Gilman Road in Hinesburg. It appeared Auclair, who had grease on his hands, tried to crawl under his gray 2017 GMC pickup truck to get away from the shooter, state police said.
Neighbors reported hearing multiple gunshots, and the autopsy found nine bullets in Auclair’s body. The shooter left no casings behind at the crime scene, according to police, who believe Auclair was lured there by a call from a prepaid cellphone.
Investigators say they are still trying to piece together the events leading up to the fatal shooting.
Meanwhile, last Thursday the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives petitioned a federal court judge for a search warrant for Verizon, to search records related to a cell phone seized when George was arrested.
Investigators believe there may be evidence to further support the charges that George illegally possessed firearms, ATF Special Agent Benjamin Cohen said in a court affidavit seeking the search warrant.
The shotgun, and other firearms and ammunition, were stolen from the St. Lawrence County camp owned by Kirk Delibac and his father Frederick Delibac, Cohen wrote in a 12-page affidavit.
The stolen shotgun was recovered during a court-ordered search Aug. 2 at a mobile home shared by George and his then-girlfriend Kirstin Stillwell, 18, and parked in the driveway of 116 Cattail Lane in Monkton, police said. George and Stillwell later married.
State police also recovered several firearms in a second court-ordered search at 116 Murray Lane in Milton at the home of George’s grandmother – who is the mother of George’s mother, Angela Auclair, Cohen said.
Inside an “EZ Hauler” was a Mossberg .22 caliber rifle, a .22 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, a .22 caliber Marlin rifle, a Winchester 30-30 rifle and a .410 Harrington and Richardson Pardner model shotgun, Cohen said.
George texted his mother, Angela Auclair, on April 30 with proposed prices for seven firearms – six of them matching the description of guns reported missing from the New York camp following the break-in earlier that spring, Cohen said in his affidavit.
Cohen said a text message includes a photograph sent in June by Stillwell to George depicting him in front of the EZ Hauler trailer in which state police recovered the Mossberg and other firearms.
There also is a text exchange between Angela Auclair and George that discusses a trip to a New York camp in April, Cohen wrote. George told his mother he could not use any vehicle associated with the family. He then asks, “Are you sure those things I like are there…”
The Auclairs were in a rocky marriage and maintained separate bedrooms in their home, police have said. Angela Auclair would allow her boyfriend, John Turner, to come over to their home, records show.
The night before the homicide, David Auclair and his estranged wife went out to dinner with a joint friend, James Synott from Colchester, police said. While they were dining at the Lighthouse Restaurant, George broke into Synott’s empty home on Arbor Lane to steal three guns and was seen carrying a bag as he fled, records show. The other two guns were not immediately recovered, prosecutors said.
Among the guns stolen was the Beretta used to gun down his stepfather the following night, police reported.
Federal Magistrate Judge John Conroy has ruled George is both a risk to flee and danger to the community, in part due to his significant criminal record. It includes a Massachusetts conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm in 2016, he said. George is on state parole and a detainer has been filed.
Conroy has given Chief Federal Public Defender Michael Desautels until Dec. 5 to file any pre-trial motions.
While George faces only two federal gun charges currently, court records show that a large quantity of drugs and pills were seized Sept. 9, when authorities searched a black 2011 Harley Davidson motorcycle belonging to the defendant.
Both the homicide and gun investigations dovetailed into a drug case after investigators learned George was involved in the unlawful drug sales of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products, Cohen reported.
The drug sales were both in and outside Chittenden County according to Cohen in seeking to search the motorcycle.
Investigators seized 36 glass cartridges believed to contain THC and another 15 “Rova” saliva cartridges thought to contain THC, State Police Detective Sgt. James Vooris said in court papers. He wrote two other containers believed to hold THC resin were seized, too.
Police also confiscated 15 pills assumed to be cyclobenzaprine and 9 pills thought to be diazepam, Vooris said.
Six plastic bags containing suspected marijuana and one bag holding an unknown green substance also were impounded, Vooris said.
David Auclair had been listed as the legal owner of the motorcycle, but sometime in August the ownership changed to George and his mother, Angela Auclair, court papers show.
Relations between family members of the victim and his estranged wife were strained, police have said. Five South Burlington Police officers responded to a report of a family fight following the Funeral Mass at St. John Vianney Catholic Church on July 20, Chief Shawn Burke said.
Williston and University of Vermont Police both sent two additional officers to stand by as backup during the burial that followed at Resurrection Park Cemetery on Hinesburg Road, records show.