The body of 22 year-old Chris Davis was found last April in the St. Albans pool after being reported missing by his family a month earlier. The medical examiner was not able to determine when or how Davis died because he had been in the pool for so long. Eventually five people were arrested in connection with the case, but none of them were ever charged the homicide.
Monday one of the suspects, Travis Bugbee, 24, pleaded guilty to assault and robbery charges. According to police Bugbee and another man, Brian Ross, lured Davis to the pool, where they beat and robbed him. Bugbee's lawyer insisted Ross was the ring leader, but Franklin County State's Attorney James Hughes says that doesn't matter.
"Under Vermont law with criminal charges, if you take part in the criminal enterprise you can be held as culpable as the principal actor," Hughes said.
Ross is expected to plead guilty to the same charges in June. If that happens, both men will be sentenced in July. And if further evidence is uncovered in the future, it is possible Bugbee could face homicide charges.
"I believe he could," Hughes said. "He would obviously have a double jeopardy argument, but there are different elements to the defense of a homicide than an assault and robbery, so if further information is developed he is not precluded."
In the meantime Bugbee remains free on conditions.
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