Chelsea, Vermont - June 11, 2007
Charges were filed Monday against a man accused of a brutal domestic assault. Police say Herbert Rodgers beat his estranged wife and doused her with a caustic chemical. The attack left the victim clinging to life with severe burns over most of her body.
Rodgers and Carmen Tarleton had been married for nine years, but were currently separated and in the process of getting a divorce. He was arraigned Monday and the court affidavits say he admitted to police quote "I lost it-- I just lost it."
Herbert Rodgers, 52, of White River Junction was arraigned Monday afternoon on three felonies including burglary and domestic assault.
According to police, Rodgers attacked his estranged wife, Carmen Tarleton, early Sunday morning.
The alleged assault took place at Tarleton's home in Thetford. According to police, Rodgers broke into the home, assaulted Tarleton -- breaking her arm and eye socket -- then proceeded to pour industrial strength lye all over her body. Tarleton was air lifted to Boston with severe chemical burns. She was last listed in critical condition. Police say Rodgers went to the home looking to kill a man he believed was in a relationship with Tarleton. Police say the man was not there, so Rodgers turned his attention toward the victim.
"He and his estranged wife were in the process of a divorce, obviously a situation where emotions run high," says Det. Lt. John Paul Sinclair of the Vermont State Police.
Rodgers had been sent to the hospital in Lebanon for treatment of minor injuries. He was then arraigned in a Lebanon court and waived extradition so that he could face the charges in Orange county.
Meanwhile, hazmat crews in WRJ were setting up outside Rodgers' apartment. No one would talk on camera but police were trying to figure out exactly what the chemical was and how Rodgers acquired it.
State Haz-mat crews entered the home a little before 1:30 Monday afternoon. In less than ten minutes, the search was over. There was no immediate word on what, if anything, was found.
Rodgers entered a plea of not guilty to the charges and he's being held without bail.
Police will only say Tarleton is still in critical condition. She was able to give statements to police, but she's no longer coherent. Police say more charges may be pending depending on further investigation.
Adam Sullivan - WCAX News