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Pat O'Hagan killing: Murder charges 3 years in the making - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Pat O'Hagan killing: Murder charges 3 years in the making

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Pat O'Hagan Pat O'Hagan
Keith Baird Keith Baird
Richard Fletcher Richard Fletcher
Michael Norrie Michael Norrie
ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. -

It's the news Pat O'Hagan's kids have been waiting to hear.

"It's been three years, I think, since we've been made aware of these individuals and their potential involvement in the case," son Mark O'Hagan said.

Friday, Caledonia County prosecutors filed first-degree murder, kidnapping and burglary charges against Keith Baird, 33, Richard Fletcher, 27, and Michael Norrie, 23, in connection with the 2010 shooting death of the Sheffield grandmother.

O'Hagan's son Mark says the development comes as a relief.

"Obviously, our mom is gone. We just wanted the responsibility to be recognized and to be put squarely where it belongs and to see them have the appropriate punishment for the crime," he said.

Baird, Fletcher and Norrie are currently in custody for other crimes. According to court documents in an unrelated federal firearms case, the suspects made partial confessions in connection with O'Hagan's killing, but due to conflicting stories and a lack of evidence, state prosecutors had not filed state murder charges against the men until now.

At this point, it's not clear what prompted the change. This fall, Caledonia County State's Attorney Lisa Warren said O'Hagan's case was a top priority and last fall brought in Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage to review the case and weigh in on the evidence.

Reporter Jennifer Reading: How optimistic are you that these three individuals will be brought to justice?

Mark O'Hagan: It's hard for us to say. We certainly think the case is compelling.

Pat O'Hagan was 78 when police say she was abducted from her Sheffield home and killed. Her body was discovered weeks later in Wheelock. Norrie told investigators he, Baird and Fletcher were high on crystal meth the night of the killing and wanted more money for drugs. That's when authorities say the men killed O'Hagan during a robbery attempt.

"Reliving what may have happened and then not having any charges filed was very difficult, frustrating, very frustrating," Mark O'Hagan said. "So, this is a nice change."

O'Hagan's children say they are grateful to the work of police and prosecutors who did not give up on their mom's case, but say they know they're a long way from possible convictions.

Friday evening, the court found probable cause in the case and released more than 100 pages of police paperwork detailing the alleged crimes. The hefty records speak to the complexity of the case.

At least two of the suspects will be arraigned on murder charges Monday in St. Johnsbury.

Keith Baird is already in a St. Johnsbury prison as a habitual offender and for violating an abuse prevention order.

Richard Fletcher was just returned to Vermont from a prison in Kentucky. He's in the Springfield prison for sexual exploitation of a minor.

Michael Norrie is incarcerated in a federal prison in Pennsylvania on federal gun crimes. Authorities have started the process to extradite Norrie back to Vermont to face charges.

Vermont state police also want to thank the public for critical tips that helped break the case.

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