MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A woman brought a hammer to a firearms lesson and then tried to kill her instructor by shooting him in the face with a revolver, a prosecutor said.
Veronica Lewis, 31, of Worcester, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of 48-year-old Darryl Montague at his Westford home, where he runs a licensed firearms business.
Lewis fired three shots at Montague, striking him twice in the jaw and once in the abdomen, Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said. She fled, and she gave a false phone number when she was apprehended, he said.
Lewis lives in a community therapeutic residence, a state-regulated home that provides short-term treatment to people with problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse or mental illness, Donovan said. She lied to the home about where she was going on Monday, he said.
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Montague was found lying at the edge of a road, police said. Paramedics and police initially thought he may have been struck by a vehicle, but they discovered he had been shot in the torso and jaw.
He was hospitalized in critical condition.
Lewis was being held without bail. The county public defender’s office did not return a phone call seeking comment.
In court, Lewis’ attorney suggested the shooting was not premeditated.
But county prosecutor’s office argued that it was. The hammer showed “intent to harm,” and the number of shots fired showed premeditation, Donovan said.
Montague’s mother, Ann, said Lewis had come for a lesson on Friday saying her friends had been shooting and she wanted to try it. She returned on Monday saying she wanted to learn more.
“She didn’t even know him to get any inkling to decide that she should do such harm to him,” she said. “I don’t know how she can live with herself.”