Thursday morning, St. Albans Police started rounding up suspects in the death of Christopher Davis, 22.
"Chris grew up with all of these people, they were friends his whole life, he trusted them," said Samanthajo Assisi, Davis' girlfriend.
Police say on March 21, Travis Bugbee and Brian Ross, both 23, of St. Albans, lured Davis to the city swimming pool in a plot to rob him. When Davis arrived, the two men allegedly kicked and beat him, took Davis' money, drugs and other items he was carrying.
"He might have owed people some money for drugs, not these people, and that might be common knowledge," St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor said.
Davis' body was found in the pool a few weeks later.
But before his body was discovered, police labeled Davis a person of interest in four armed robberies in the area. Within days the robbery investigation took a very different turn.
"There was information he had been the victim of an assault," Taylor said.
Due to the length of time the body was in the water before it was found the medical examiner was unable to determine how Davis died and that will likely never be known. And since Bugbee and Ross have reportedly given conflicting stories of what actually happened to Davis, they are charged with assault and robbery.
"We can't prove what he died from and when the death occurred," Taylor said.
"If nobody gets charged with murder it ain't justice," Assisi said.
Also arrested in the case was Joshua Fortine, 29, of St. Albans. He is charged with accessory after the fact for allegedly possessing and selling items including Davis' EBT card, which is a form of food stamps. Police also charged Stephen Wells, 36, of St. Albans, for buying the card from Fortine and using it. Stephen Wells' mother, Ann Wells, 53, of Milton, is facing similar charges. Surveillance cameras captured her using the EBT card at several grocery stores.
"The reality is we had most of the basic facts in the beginning and it was closing up loose ends," Taylor said.
Even though Davis' girlfriend is disappointed no one has been charged with murder, she says this finally brings some closure to the family.
"He didn't deserve this," Assisi said. "Now he doesn't get to see his kid grow up. I have a 2-year-old with him and now she doesn't get to see her father ever."
All of the suspects except Ann Wells appeared in court Thursday and pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say if new evidence comes to light the charges could be upgraded. And they say they have not ruled out more arrests in the case.
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