Prosecutors say he was a drug dealer who got caught up in a deadly setup for a small amount of crack cocaine.
"We certainly do not condone any actions of dealing with drugs, but the fact of the matter is someone was shot and killed and we're going to prosecute that case to the fullest extent," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan said.
Friends of 34-year-old Abdul Clay, who everyone calls Boo, described him as a passionate cook and a loving father. They say they're devastated by his murder.
"Like she said yesterday I can't believe I'm never going to see him walk towards me again. I'm never going to hear his voice again," said Jennifer Andrews, a friend of Clay.
Police say Clay was gunned down by Robert Dougherty, 38, of Winooski. He's being charged with first-degree murder for shooting Clay outside the City's Edge condos Monday. Dougherty pleaded not guilty but prosecutors say they're not backing down from a felony murder conviction.
"It happened in an area where young families live, that people frequent. So this goes to the core of public safety," Donovan said.
According to court papers, Clay went into the City's Edge condos to get crack cocaine from a resident who lived there. He was planning to sell it to Dougherty and his roommates, who were waiting in the parking lot. Police say when Clay returned to the car driven by Krystal Tyler, 27, Dougherty held a gun to Clay's head and refused to pay. Police say that's when Jacob Beane, 21, dragged Clay out of the car and watched Dougherty shoot Clay twice.
Beane sobbed as he entered the courtroom. He and Tyler are charged with assault and robbery. Although they denied the charges, police say the pair admitted to planning the robbery in a desperate attempt to score drugs.
"We're seeing young men who are so desperate to feed their addiction that they engage in a conspiracy to rob a drug dealer, but they're also carrying guns," Donovan said.
Clay's friends call it a senseless killing and they want justice.
"They can't take back what they did. They could never take that back. They took her soul mate. They took a father, a son, a brother, a friend. There are so many people who are affected by this. It hurts," Andrews said.
Dougherty and Beane are being held without bail. The judge set Tyler's bail at $50,000-- double what state prosecutors were asking for.
Friday, May 24 2013 2:59 AM EDT2013-05-24 06:59:12 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:52 AM EDT2013-05-24 04:52:17 GMT
Many Vermont roads turned to rivers Thursday night. Flash flooding made it difficult to get around. Route 15 in Underhill became a dead end -- between Poker Hill Road and Cilley Hill Road. Gushing waterMore >>
Many Vermont roads turned to rivers Thursday night. Flash flooding made it difficult to get around.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:44 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:44:21 GMT
New developments in a WCAX News investigation into a land deal between Gov. Peter Shumlin and an East Montpelier man. Jeremy Dodge's kids say the governor took advantage of their dad and they now planMore >>
New developments in a WCAX News investigation into a land deal between Gov. Shumlin and an East Montpelier man. Jeremy Dodge's kids say the governor took advantage of their dad and they plan to fight the governor for the property.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:00 PM EDT2013-05-24 00:00:29 GMT
Steve Stitzel is a lawyer with three decades of tax sales experience. His firm represents towns from Bennington to Newport. He says in recent years towns have gotten tough on tax collections. "BudgetsMore >>
There are several steps before a home is sold in a tax sale. Once it is sold, homeowners still have a year to try to get back their property. And many do find a way to pay their back taxes and stay put.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:57 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:57:59 GMT
Four colleges, including Dartmouth, are now facing federal complaints over their handling of rape allegations. Other colleges facing complaints include Swarthmore College, University of Southern California,More >>
Four colleges, including Dartmouth, face federal complaints over their handling of rape allegations.More >>