Crime

Alleged shooter of firearms instructor to plead to Attempted Murder #2

Veronica Lewis, 36, of Worcester pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday, Feb. 9 to Interference with Commerce by Robbery, and Possession of a Stolen Firearm.  The woman who allegedly shot a Westford firearms instructor three times on June 29, 2015 also is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to attempted murder in Vermont courts, US Attorney Christina Nolan said.

Veronica Lewis

United States District Judge Christina Reiss deferred acceptance of the plea agreement by the Court until sentencing, which has been scheduled for May 28.  The agreement is contingent on Lewis pleading guilty to second degree attempted murder the Vermont court.  

February 9, Lewis admitted that on June 29, 2015, she met with a firearm instructor (D.M.) at his business in Westford, Vermont.  D.M. provided Lewis a Smith and Wesson Model K-22 .22 caliber revolver for use during the lesson.  After receiving instruction from D.M., Lewis intentionally fired three rounds from the Smith and Wesson at D.M., striking him in the face and torso.  After shooting D.M., Lewis left the business with the Smith and Wesson, which was still loaded with three rounds of ammunition.  Lewis also took six additional rounds of ammunition.  

Later in the day on June 29, 2015, Lewis was apprehended outside her residence in Worchester, Vermont while still in possession of the stolen firearm.  During the plea hearing today, the government noted that in March 2020, a forensic psychologist examined Lewis, and opined that Lewis was sane at the time of the offense, meaning Lewis was able to appreciate the nature and quality and wrongfulness of her acts on June 29, 2015.

Lewis was initially charged in federal court on June 11, 2019 with Unlawfully Possessing a Firearm and possessing a stolen firearm in relation to the shooting of D.M. on June 29, 2015.  Lewis was ordered detained pending trial.  On November 14, 2019, the federal grand jury in Burlington returned a Superseding Indictment, charging Lewis with Interference with Commerce by Robbery, in violation of Discharge of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, and Possession of a Stolen Firearm  Lewis faced a mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment and up to life imprisonment on these charges, and up to a 5-year term of supervised release.  

On December 11, 2019, Lewis was ordered to be evaluated by a forensic psychologist to determine her competency to stand trial, and whether she was sane at the time of the offense. On May 4, 2020, after the examination by a Bureau of Prisons forensic psychologist appointed by the court, Lewis was found competent to stand trial.  

On January 5, 2021, Lewis entered a plea agreement with the United States, agreeing to plead guilty.  In the plea agreement, Lewis agreed to waive an affirmative defense of insanity.  The federal plea agreement, if accepted by the court, would require the imposition of a 72-month sentence, without any credit for the four years of time Lewis served in state custody prior to her federal arrest on June 12, 2019.  The sentence also must run concurrently with any sentence imposed by the State of Vermont.  The federal sentence, if imposed, would functionally result in Lewis serving a 10-year sentence concurrent to the disposition in Chittenden Superior Court.  Lewis would also serve a 3-year term of federal supervised release concurrent to any supervision imposed in the state proceeding.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced that Lewis is set to be arraigned on February 11, 2021 in Chittenden Superior Court-Criminal on one count of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree.  These charges stem from the same shooting of D.M. on June 29, 2015.  Lewis is expected to enter a plea of guilty as outlined in a plea agreement. Under the proposed plea agreement, if accepted by the Court, Lewis will receive a sentence of 20 years to life, all suspended but 10 years of incarceration, and 40 years of State supervision with special conditions including, but not limited to, mental health treatment. 

Information – US Attorney’s Office

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4 replies »

    • Why is an attempted murder being prosecuted ?news? She shot a man twice in the head!!!
      She was released from an out of state mental care to come to Vt for handgun lessons
      Mental health “expert idiots”!!. Not tried due to imparement” !?!?
      Finally she is being tried, while the victim here in Westford is crippled for life.
      Dam the court system for such horrid delays.

      • The crime occurred in 2015 and it’s been kicking around the courts since then. While I feel terrible about what happened to the victim, that the defendant pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder, when she might have gotten off with a temporary insanity plea, is what? News?

        What about the Rutland man who last week took a 2nd degree murder plea deal for a 2019 murder? Or the Pownal man, for example, facing a murder charge in a knife attack and fatal slashing of a woman late Monday morning, just this week, on a walkway along a river in downtown Bennington?

        There’s plenty of this stuff going on, the victims are to be mourned, law enforcement needs to be expanded not defunded, and we need to be vigilant in our own defense (2nd Amendment). But I don’t see what makes this circumstance so noteworthy as to be the only murder story being reported.

        I mean, how many of you know U.S. Border Patrol arrests of illegal aliens convicted of one or more crimes in 2021 already exceeds the total arrests in 2020, or that murders in NYC have spiked 125% in the first 10 days of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020?

        There are issues that demand our attention. I just didn’t think this was one of them.

      • Hi Jay – it’s news in both the timely and “important” sense because it is the culmination of a heinous, unusual and high-profile shooting. The unusual plea agreement involves federal and state prosecutors coordinating plea agreements being entered in federal court tuesday and (scheduled) in state court thursday. I agree there’s a lot else going on in law enforcement. I’m in touch with Border Patrol about activity in the Swanton sector. There may be a story there in the next few days. If I had the manpower (hah! hah! It is to laugh) I would assign a cop reporter to keep tabs on police departments big and small, and do some court reporting to boot. It’s great training for an intern and of interest to the readers. Alas….but who knows, we’re growing. It could happen!

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