• Police: Shooting involved drug money
    By Eric Blaisdell
     | April 29,2014
     

    Stefan Hard / Staff Photo Marcus Stone, 24, of Barre, is arraigned Monday in Washington County criminal court in Barre on a charge of aggravated assault with a weapon stemming from a shooting Friday night at the Budget Inn in Barre.

    BARRE — Police said the attempted robbery of a drug dealer in Barre on Friday night may have left one man paralyzed from the neck down.

    The Granite City man accused of shooting another man in the neck at the Budget Inn on North Main Street has been ordered held on bail after his arraignment Monday.

    Marcus A. Stone, 24, pleaded not guilty in Washington County criminal court in Barre to one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony. If convicted, Stone faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

    According to the police affidavit, police responded to a report of gunshots at the inn around 11:35 p.m. A 911 call was also taken at that time from someone saying an attempted robbery had just taken place at the motel.

    Police said they found Justin Roberts, 30, lying on the ground and Stone was holding a handgun. Police said Roberts also had a handgun. Police said Roberts had a wound in his back where the bullet exited through his neck.

    Police said Roberts was taken to Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin. While there, his heart reportedly stopped and he had to be resuscitated. The damage from the bullet caused paralysis for Roberts, and police do not know if it is permanent, according to the affidavit. Roberts was listed in critical condition Monday afternoon at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

    At the scene, police spoke with a witness, Jean Sousie, 20, who said she lived with Stone at the motel, according to the affidavit. Sousie told police she heard the door knob to her room jiggle and thought it was a friend. Sousie told police Stone opened the door and Roberts pushed his way in.

    Sousie told police Roberts had a handgun in his hand and Stone ran into the bathroom. She said Roberts demanded money and pointed the gun at her and Stone’s 4-month-old infant. Sousie said Roberts grabbed some money off the dresser and left.

    At that point, Stone came out of the bathroom, grabbed his own gun and ran out the door firing twice, police said. Sousie said Roberts was on the ground and Stone went over to see if he was hurt. Sousie told police Roberts said he couldn’t move.

    Police said they found two 9 mm shell casings outside the motel, one in the driveway in front of the room where the attempted robbery took place and another on the staircase that runs parallel to Fifth Street.

    When police spoke with Stone, he gave a story similar to that of Sousie. Stone told police the shooting was self-defense.

    Stone told police he had about $7,000 in cash in his pocket and Roberts took off with less than $2,000 from the dresser.

    When police asked Stone if the money he had in his possession came from selling drugs, he denied it, according to the affidavit. Stone told police he received $3,700 from an insurance settlement from an accident he was involved in and Sousie had received $3,200 in tax money.

    According to the affidavit, police told Stone the money was obviously from drug proceeds. Police said Stone later admitted some of the money came from selling marijuana but denied selling anything else.

    The shooting has sparked interest from local officials about people who are staying in the city’s hotels and motels. Mayor Thomas Lauzon submitted a public records request Sunday to the state’s Department of Finance and Management seeking information on any payments the state has made to house people at seven establishments, including the Budget Inn, in the city from 2010 to the present.

    The state offers housing assistance to qualifying people who are homeless, recently released from foster care or starting probation or parole after a year of prison.

    Lauzon said the records request is “the first in a series of questions” he intends to ask in order to find out more about the hotels and motels in the wake of the shooting. He also wants to meet owners of the establishments over the next few weeks and tour their facilities.

    Lauzon expected the City Council to take up the topic at its regular meeting today.

    @Tagline:eric.blaisdell

    @timesargus.com

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