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3rd suspect in murder of Vt. grandmother pleads not guilty - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

3rd suspect in murder of Vt. grandmother pleads not guilty

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Michael Norrie Michael Norrie
Pat O'Hagan Pat O'Hagan
ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. -

Her death stunned the state. Now, three years later, the third suspect in the murder of Pat O'Hagan is charged. Michael Norrie, 23, was allegedly high on crystal meth when he fired the deadly shot in a robbery gone wrong. Difficult details for her kids, but now they say they are focused on justice for their mom and they were there to see Norrie in court.

"It's been tough," Shawn O'Hagan said.

It's been a long wait for Pat O'Hagan's family. The Sheffield grandmother was shot dead in her home.

Now, three years later, Michael Norrie, the third suspect in the case, is in court for her murder. He entered a plea of not guilty.

For Pat O'Hagan's son, Terry, the sight of the man police say pulled the trigger had him wondering if anyone else knew details about the crime and could have helped close the case sooner.

He asked, "Who else in town? Who else had they associated with? Were interviewed about this? And lied about this? Weren't forthright about this?"

Shawn O'Hagan said that's how he felt in court last month, when Keith Baird and Richard Fletcher also denied murdering his mom. But now, seeing the last of the suspects face the judge had him thinking about her.

"This time, was more my mother. Being the last one," he said.

A tough day in court, but one the family calls a positive step. Just last fall they thought no one would face charges.

"There's a mountain of evidence," Shawn said.

The family learned details about their mom's case last year while Norrie was facing federal gun charges. He's now serving a four-year sentence. And separate state cases against Fletcher and Baird also revealed some of what investigators knew about O'Hagan's death.

But despite partial confessions of a robbery that escalated to murder, Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell said the case was weak; the suspects told conflicting stories and he needed more evidence.

"We were frustrated and didn't understand," Terry said. "How no charges could be brought, how you could look at it and say you don't have enough for anything."

But Caledonia County State's Attorney Lisa Warren took the case back for another review and got help from Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage. Why Warren ultimately saw the evidence differently is not clear. She declined to comment on the case.

O'Hagan's kids say they know justice is still a long way off, but they're ready for as many court hearings it takes.

"Letting them know we are still here. We are going to stick through till it's complete," Terry said.

"It's still part of the closure process. You know, moving forward, seeing these people brought to justice," Shawn said.

The judge ordered Norrie held without bail. Attorney General Bill Sorrell said Thursday-- as he has in the past-- that there is no statute of limitations on murder charges, and if you bring them, you need to have the evidence to win. He also said that there was no lack of desire to see justice done for Pat O'Hagan, but that patience can bring forward evidence that can make a big difference in a case.

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