One of the suspects accused in the murder of popular St. Johnsbury teacher Melissa Jenkins allegedly confessed to her cellmates, and forensic evidence indicates the murder was premeditated. Now prosecutors have upped the charges to first-degree murder.
A ripped up note, torn into 101 pieces found by a prison guard tells the story. Inmates say the note was written by Patricia Prue herself, as they pieced it together phrases like "why we did it," "blonde hair," and "sexually attracted" came together. It's just one piece of evidence that gave prosecutors what they were looking for and could keep Patricia and Allen Prue behind bars for the rest of their lives.
Initially, the Prues faced charges of second-degree murder with a penalty of 20 years to life behind bars. Now both are charged with first-degree murder. Allen Prue faces 35 years to life. Patricia Prue faces additional charges of aggravated sexual assault. If convicted, she'll serve life with no possibility of parole.
"It must be that proof is short as it relates to him as it relates to sexual assault, odd as that may sound, because for him, to prove first-degree murder they would have to show that it was deliberate; that he had some premeditation as they say. In other words he planned to murder her," legal expert Jerry O'Neill explained.
Court documents obtained by WCAX News give chilling details of the alleged murder. Autopsy results reveal Jenkins was not only strangled, beaten and sexually assaulted; she was electrocuted by a stun gun as well. The stun gun, police say is one of the key pieces in a timeline indicating the Prues' actions were premeditated.
Investigators found a stun gun at the Prues' home consistent with electrical burns found during Jenkins autopsy. The Vermont Internet Crimes Task Force discovered the stun gun was purchased 91 days before Melissa Jenkins' death. Police also found a pay as you go cellphone purchased 56 days before the murder. After tracing calls, police determined the only call made on the disposable phone was to Jenkins, to lure her from her home.
Also neighbors say they saw Patricia Prue lingering in a car outside Jenkins home three days before her murder. And two days before, a state game warden says he saw Allen Prue at a boat launch near the site where Jenkins' body was pull from the Connecticut River.
O'Neill says prosecutors must be able to infer a sequence from these purchases and actions to prove premeditation.
"The logical sequence one could say is they plan to stun her, they plan to take sexual advantage of her, then the only thing they had left to do was to kill her and probably they have some statements from people or either or both of them that help them in that particular pursuit," O'Neill said.
Women at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility told police Prue bragged to them about the murder, saying Jenkins deserved it because she kept Allen Prue from getting plow jobs and making friends around the neighborhood.
This affidavit is filled with accounts from other inmates about Patricia Prue's flashbacks. They say Melissa Jenkins begged Prue not to hurt her and say Jenkins son, Ty, who was in the car when she was abducted, asked the man not to hurt his mommy.
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:10 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:10:31 GMT
ANNOUNCER: FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS, THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME". >> HELLO, WELCOME TO "YOU CAN QUOTE ME", I'M KYLE MIDURA, TODAY WE TALK ABOUTMore >>
Stephen Dale, the executive director of the Vermont School Boards Association joins Kyle Midura to discuss education in Vermont.More >>