Fatal heroin overdose brings second degree murder charge for Bennington man
BENNINGTON, VT — An Emma Street man is facing a second degree murder charge after police say he sold heroin to another man who died from the resulting overdose.
Trevor T. Shepard, 36, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to second degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault by administering a drug, one count of trafficking heroin transported into the state, heroin trafficking, conspiracy to sell drugs, three counts of heroin sale or delivery, one count of heroin sale, and heroin possession.
He was charged as a habitual offender, having five previous felony convictions on his record, according to court documents.
Shortly after Judge David Howard ordered Shepard held, there was a disturbance in the courtroom. It appeared to be between Shepard, Shepard's family, and the family of Clark Salmon, the man whom police say overdosed on heroin bought through Shepard. There was some back and forth name calling which ended with Diane Baker being sentenced by Howard to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court.
Police identified Baker as the sister of Trevor Shepard and William Shepard, 44.
An hour or so before, in the same courtroom, William Shepard had pleaded not guilty to trafficking heroin transported into the state, heroin trafficking, conspiracy to sell drugs, and misdemeanor counts of heroin possession, marijuana possession,and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was held for lack of $75,000 bail.
Also arraigned and tied to Trevor and William Shepard though police affidavits was Carlos J. Vazquez Jr., 42, of Pownal, who pleaded not guilty to trafficking heroin transported into the state, heroin trafficking, and conspiracy to sell drugs. He was ordered held without bail.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police, on Jan. 31 at 1:18 a.m. they responded to Valentine Street for an unresponsive female. The woman appeared to have overdosed on heroin. She revived when the Bennington Rescue Squad arrived and gave her a dose of Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses.
Police spoke to a woman at the house who said the overdosed woman was using a heroin branded "Bugatti."
The overdosed woman told police she bought the heroin from Trevor Shepard, 10 bags for $100, and that she had done this on four different occasions.
On Feb. 3, shortly after 2 p.m., police went to Garbrooke Drive for a report of an unresponsive male. There they found Fernando Corrales, 52, performing CPR on Salmon, 31, who was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel. Police found evidence of heroin use along with a heroin bag bearing the Bugatti stamp.
On Feb. 4, at 8:30 a.m., Corrales was the driver of a vehicle that crashed. Police evaluated him and determined he was under the influence of a drug. Corrales pleaded not guilty Monday to DUI. Another $1,000 was added to the bail already placed on him for assault charges he pleaded not guilty to in January.
Later on Feb. 4 Bennington Police, along with Detective Larry Cole, responded to yet another overdose, this time on Pleasant Street. It was the same woman who had overdosed on Valentine Street a few days before. She told police she had bought four more bags of heroin for $40 from Trevor Shepard while in the Rite Aid parking lot on North Street just a few minutes before overdosing.
She told police she suspected the heroin was laced with Fentanyl, a powerful opioid used to increase the potency of heroin that has reportedly resulting in a large number of overdoses. She told police that after her Jan. 30 overdose, she questioned Shepard about this and he admitted that the heroin he sold her had been laced with Fentanyl. That heroin was labeled "Gangster."
While the woman was being treated, her cell phone rang. The caller ID indicated it was Trevor Shepard calling, so Cole answered it and told Shepard to stop selling heroin because it was killing people and that he would be held responsible for their deaths.
On Feb. 5, police went to Shepard's address for a report of a male who was no longer breathing. They met Shepard at the door as well as another male. Inside was William Shepard performing CPR on an unconscious male lying on the bathroom floor. He had a pulse and was breathing. Police were told the male had brought the heroin he used with him, however after being revived by Narcan the male told police someone gave it to him, although he would not say who.
Police searched the apartment and the four vehicles in the driveway. In the vehicle that Trevor Shepard was allegedly using to travel around they found 10 bags of Bugatti heroin. Between the other vehicles they found a pen with a white powder substance, and one bag of heroin stamped "Bugatti.'
In Trevor Shepard's bedroom police found a package of syringes and unstamped baggies, the kind typically used to package heroin.
Police found a few more baggies stamped "Bugatti" and "American Gangster," as well as syringes and a used glass pipe. They also found 37 grams of marijuana in a freezer.
In William Shepard's room, police found 46.5 grams of marijuana as well as six bags of heroin with the American Gangster stamp. There was also a book with names, numbers and "120 owed 2 buns 2 bags" written on it. Police also found two rifles.
According to the affidavit, Trevor Shepard said he uses heroin and has been selling it since October. He said he gets it from Massachusetts and said he has sold Bugatti stamped heroin in Bennington.
Bennington Police worked with the Vermont Drug Task Force to investigate the alleged activities of Trevor Shepard, William Shepard, and Vazquez. Police were given information saying they had been moving heroin to Bennington from Holyoke, Mass, purchasing loads for $3,000 which they could sell for $7,000.
Police said after William Shepard was arrested, he admitted to selling heroing for the past three months, using between 30 and 40 bags per day himself.
Shepard's attorney, William Wright, said his client disputes having told police this.
According to the affidavit, William Shepard told police that he, his brother, and Vazquez get heroin from Holyoake and sell it in Bennington, sometimes bringing up 800 bags at a time. He denied selling heroin to Salmon and told police the only people selling Bugatti are his brother and Vazquez. William Shepard said he has been telling people about it being laced with Fentanyl.
Police also spoke to a woman who said she went with Vazquez to Hollyoake one day where he picked up several hundred bags of heroin and brought them to Shepard's place on Emma Street.
Vazquez denied selling drugs but said he does use three to four bags of heroin per day, which he buys from people in Bennington whom he refused to name. He said he lives at the Southgate Motel.
Last week, police arrested two men at the Southgate Motel, Juan Martori, 24, and Robert Morales, 25, both of Springfield, Mass., and charged them with drug trafficking after seizing 690 bags of heroin and $5,000 in cash. Police were led to the hotel after arresting Richard Bynum at a traffic stop and finding him in possession of 20 bags of heroin and a small amount of cocaine.
Police said they believe Martori and Morales know Vazquez and Trevor and William Shepard.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.