Burlington Police say they've caught a killer - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington Police say they've caught a killer

Daniel Whalon Daniel Whalon
Ralph Bell Ralph Bell

Burlington, Vermont - July 22, 2011

"He trusted too much," Larry Saltus said. "He was a very trusting soul. Very trusting."

A trust that Larry Saltus says ended in tragedy for his close friend, Ralph Bell. Bell was allegedly murdered by the one man who was supposed to love him.

"Ralph was very much taken with Danny," Saltus said.

Friends say Bell was immediately drawn to his next-door neighbor, Daniel Whalon, 25. And within days of meeting, the two struck up a secret relationship. But they say the intermittent love affair was rocky and often violent.

"First he used to always say, well, Danny doesn't know his own strength, he doesn't mean it. But right in my kitchen one day Danny picked him up and threw him against my sink," Saltus said.

Police now say that violence escalated to murder between Monday night and Tuesday morning on a train bridge in Burlington.

"Whalon stabbed Bell in the chest and neck causing fatal injuries. Subsequent to that Bell fell 50 feet over a sheer cliff," Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling said.

According to court papers, Bell invited Whalon to go for a walk Monday night. Whalon told police Bell was jealous of his new relationship with a woman. When the two reached the so-called blue bridge, Whalon said Bell tried to have sex with him anyway and he fought him off by stabbing him with a knife that he says he randomly found on the ground. Whalon said he panicked after Bell stumbled and fell off the bridge. To cover his tracks, Whalon returned home and wrote a fake note pretending to be Bell, claiming he was going to be in New York for a few weeks.

"We have someone who has lost their life. Family members are grieving right now. So any time you're dealing with a case like this, it is a tragedy," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan said.

The state will be seeking a second-degree murder conviction which carries a penalty of 20 years to life in prison.

"The facts outlined in the affidavit support a second-degree murder charge at this time," Donovan said.

Whalon has a criminal history in Vermont dating back to 2002, including numerous property crimes, frauds and misdemeanor assaults.

In court Friday he declined to enter a plea, so he will be back in court Monday. In the meantime he is being held without bail.

Jennifer Reading - WCAX News

Related Stories:

Police ID Burlington homicide victim

Blood stain spotted before body was discovered at intervale

Burlington police call man's death suspicious

Body discovered in Burlington's intervale

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police investigate Hinesburg woman shot by male relative

    Police investigate Hinesburg woman shot by male relative

    Thursday, April 24 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-04-25 02:08:02 GMT
    Vermont State Police and Hinesburg police were on the scene at a shooting in Hinesburg at 8:45 p.m. Thursday night.Officials say a 71-year-old man shot a female relative. She was shot in the hand and chest and taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where she is currently in stable condition.The man is in custody and police say there is currently no motive for the shooting and that there were no prior issues with the relatives.Police are currently still investigating the shooting.More >>
    Vermont State Police and Hinesburg police were on the scene at a shooting in Hinesburg at 8:45 p.m. Thursday night.Officials say a 71-year-old man shot a female relative. She was shot in the hand and chest and taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where she is currently in stable condition.The man is in custody and police say there is currently no motive for the shooting and that there were no prior issues with the relatives.Police are currently still investigating the shooting.More >>
  • Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:01:18 GMT
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
  • Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:31:24 GMT
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:29:39 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
  • 2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:13:57 GMT
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:18:27 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
  • Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:49 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:49:11 GMT
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
  • 150 doctors targeted by tax fraud in NH, Vt.

    150 doctors targeted by tax fraud in NH, Vt.

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:45 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:45:08 GMT
    New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.More >>
    New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.