Vt. farmer charged with murdering daughter's boyfriend - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. farmer charged with murdering daughter's boyfriend

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Stephen Pelletier Stephen Pelletier
Stephen Pelletier entered a not guilty plea to the charge of first-degree murder in Rutland Criminal Court Wednesday. Pelletier has been charged with killing Michael Wisell, who was reportedly his daughter's boyfriend.

Court documents show the alleged family fight may have just come to a head after bubbling up for some time.

It was an emotional day in court for the friends and family of the accused Pelletier and the alleged victim, Wisell. They passed around a tissue and teared up as the 58-year-old Castleton man was brought into court.

Pelletier told officials in court documents he shot Wisell twice, once in the forehead and once in the back with a .38-caliber gun after the two were stacking wood in a sugar house on Pelletier's property May 14. The two men knew each other well, Wisell was the longtime boyfriend of Pelletier's daughter and all three lived together at the Castleton property.

Officials were led to the home after a family friend reported Wisell missing Sunday. His body was located in a manure pit.

"The individual we believe we have here was reported missing which sparked the investigation with Castleton PD. They subsequently reached out to the Vermont State Police," said Vermont State Police Capt. J.P. Sinclair.

Court documents show turmoil in the home and Pelletier told investigators he was just defending his family.

Pelletier said that Wisell was physically abusive toward his daughter and verbally abusive toward the rest of his family. He said "we've been living a hell" and he further stated "he didn't know any other way."

A family friend spotted outside the home, who didn't give his name, said the family relationship was volatile. The friend said that he threatened their family every single day but didn't think Pelletier could have done that.

We found court documents from Rutland Family Court that indicated Jessica Pelletier had filed for "protection from abuse" from Michael Wisell in August 2013 and was issued a temporary restraining order, but neither showed for the hearing.

This was an interesting case because although family members declined to speak on camera, when we asked who they were with, many said both as this appears to be a case of a family dispute taken too far.

Pelletier is being held without bail here in Rutland at Marble Valley Correctional Facility.
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