Monkton man Kory Lee George, who is charged with illegal possession of two firearms as a five-time convicted felon, is scheduled to go on trial in October in U.S. District Court in Burlington.
But it remains a mystery when George, 32, will go on trial in state court on other charges – including first degree murder in the death of his stepfather, David Auclair, 45, of Williston, with one of the suspect guns.
Auclair was killed on July 11, 2019. His bullet-riddled body was part of an execution-style homicide orchestrated by his estranged wife, Angela Auclair – who also is George’s mother, state police and prosecutors have said.
During a hearing Tuesday in federal court, Judge Christina Reiss set Oct. 27 for opening statements and testimony to begin in George’s trial. Jury selection is planned for Sept. 28.
It is unclear whether George will face one or two felony gun charges, after the defense said Tuesday it wants to block an effort by federal prosecutors to drop one count.
George has pleaded not guilty in federal court to two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of two unrelated firearms.
One charge says between July 10 and 14, 2019, George possessed a stolen 9-mm Beretta – the gun authorities say was used to kill Auclair. The second count accuses him on Aug. 2, 2019, of possessing a 12-gauge shotgun that was reported stolen from a camp in New York’s St. Lawrence County.
Meanwhile George also has pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court to a series of charges, including first degree murder in the death of Auclair. George is charged with obstruction of justice and a burglary in Colchester that allegedly netted him the homicide weapon.
Auclair was lured to the LaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest trailhead parking lot off Gilman Road in Hinesburg and shot nine times the night after the burglary, police have said. 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.
Because state courts have halted jury trials in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it remains to be seen when George might face the homicide and burglary charges.
State prosecutors and the defense are still in pre-trial mode and no court hearings have been scheduled as of Wednesday.
In a motion filed this week, federal prosecutors are seeking to drop the first count of the indictment dealing with George’s possession of the Berretta used in the homicide, but are asking for the right to later re-file the charge depending on what happens in federal and state court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Spencer Willig said many of the details in the stolen Beretta case in federal court and the homicide case in state court are identical and he believes it would be a waste of time and resources “trying substantially the same case twice.”
Chief Federal Defender Michael Desautels said in court Tuesday that he wants prosecutors to proceed with both gun charges, or not be allowed to re-file the case if things don’t work out well in any state trial. He asked for time to file a written response seeking to block the government’s written motion.
Judge Christina Reiss agreed to give Desautels up to 14 days to file a written objection to the government motion.
Willig noted the murder charge carries a potential 35 year to life penalty, while the gun case is a 10-year felony.
George’s criminal record includes felony convictions for escape in December 2017, assault and robbery with a weapon in October 2008, grand larceny in October 2008, burglary into an occupied dwelling in December 2007 and burglary December in 2007, records show.
His mother Angela Auclair 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 have said. While at dinner, Angela Auclair’s boyfriend dropped George off near the home of the dinner guest, who later reported guns stolen, court records show.
The obstruction charge maintains Auclair told at least one witness in the case to lie to investigators, police said.
“The investigation revealed a pre-planned and coordinated effort to burglarize a Colchester residence where a firearm was stolen and used in the killing of David Auclair just one day after the burglary,” Detective Lt. J.P. Schmidt said after the arrest.
George is being held without bail at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans Town.
His mother is detained without bail at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington.