Quantcast

How a hallucinated bear attack led to attempted murder charges - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How a hallucinated bear attack led to attempted murder charges

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy: Amber Turner Courtesy: Amber Turner
Luke Gingras Luke Gingras
MILTON, Vt. -

Every camper's nightmare is a bear attack in the woods. A Milton couple said they lived to tell about it. Now police say their story is bogus and they've arrested one "victim" for allegedly trying to kill the other.

"Attempted murder, domestic assault, reckless endangerment and arson," Milton Police Det. Cpl. Paul Locke said.

What started as a reported bizarre bear attack ended in criminal charges for Luke Gingras, 28, of Milton. Police said he was high, slipped his girlfriend a drug and thought a bear was attacking them both.

"Gingras had been using the drug commonly known as Molly on that day of the incident," Locke said.

It's similar to Ecstasy, and police said he slipped it into 44-year-old Ladonna Merriman's drink without her knowing while the two were camping. Investigators said both were also high on cocaine and marijuana.

"Gingras claims that he was suffering from hallucinogenic effects of the drug that caused him to see what he thought was a bear," Locke said.

To escape that imaginary bear, Gingras told police he knocked over a camp stove and burned down the cabin. The couple then took off running. When they reached a steep cliff, police said Gingras told his girlfriend to jump. The 60-70-foot fall left her mangled.

"A broken back, broken ribs, a punctured lung and neck. She was then dragged by Gingras nearly three-quarters of a mile down a logging road to an abandoned vehicle where he purposely left her to go get help," Locke said.

Locke said trees and branches that Merriman hit on the way down slowed her fall and likely saved her life.

In a final peculiar twist, police said Gingras returned to where he left Meriman with a friend and a rifle.

"Gingras discharged the firearm into the backseat into the trunk claiming the bear was now in the trunk," Locke said.

Police said Merriman went into surgery Tuesday for a punctured lung. She is not expected to face criminal charges. Investigators would not say if this was the first time Gingras allegedly drugged her. He's being held for lack of $100,000 bail and could face additional federal gun charges. He's expected to be arraigned Wednesday on the state charges.

Related Stories:

Police: Bear attack didn't happen

Police, wildlife officials: No bear attack in Milton

Police can't substantiate campers' claims of reported bear attack

Bear reportedly attacks 2 in Milton

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Help Wanted

    Help Wanted

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:47 AM EDT2014-07-28 11:47:47 GMT
    Here's a look at who's hiring this morning.The State of Vermont has a number of jobs open. Through the Health Department in Burlington, they are hiring a clinical Services Director – who will provide oversight for clinical programs within children with special health needs. (CSHN) The Education Agency has several limited service positions open in Barre. There are openings for both a fulltime and part-time education consultant -- as well as a full time education programs coordinator.http://hum...
    Here's a look at who's hiring this morning.The State of Vermont has a number of jobs open. Through the Health Department in Burlington, they are hiring a clinical Services Director – who will provide oversight for clinical programs within children with special health needs. (CSHN) The Education Agency has several limited service positions open in Barre. There are openings for both a fulltime and part-time education consultant -- as well as a full time education programs coordinator.http://hum...
  • Learn how to get your finances in order

    Learn how to get your finances in order

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:43 AM EDT2014-07-28 11:43:54 GMT
    Heidi Clute from Clute Wealth Management joins us with financial tips.Phase 1: Where Are You Now?Completing cashflow, networth and liability work sheets can give you a solid understanding of your current financial standing.It's also recommended that you check your credit report (www.annualcreditreport.com) and all insurance coverage annually. Once you've compiled all of these figures, you've completed Phase 1, and should have a solid idea of your financial strengths and weaknesses.Phase 2: Wh...
    Heidi Clute from Clute Wealth Management joins us with financial tips.Phase 1: Where Are You Now?Completing cashflow, networth and liability work sheets can give you a solid understanding of your current financial standing.It's also recommended that you check your credit report (www.annualcreditreport.com) and all insurance coverage annually. Once you've compiled all of these figures, you've completed Phase 1, and should have a solid idea of your financial strengths and weaknesses.Phase 2: Wh...
  • Fire tears through South Burlington condo carport

    Fire tears through South Burlington condo carport

    Monday, July 28 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-07-28 04:03:39 GMT
    South Burlington condo residents were evacuated overnight as fire tore through their garage.
    South Burlington condo residents were evacuated overnight as fire tore through their garage.
  • Tentative deal reached on VA reform

    Tentative deal reached on VA reform

    Sunday, July 27 2014 9:46 PM EDT2014-07-28 01:46:28 GMT
    A tentative agreement has been reached between the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs on how to repair the systemic problems within the veterans' health program that left many without access to care.
    A tentative agreement has been reached between the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs on how to repair the systemic problems within the veterans' health program that left many without access to care.
  • Hail storm and power outages Sunday

    Hail storm and power outages Sunday

    Sunday, July 27 2014 9:45 PM EDT2014-07-28 01:45:34 GMT
    Courtesy: Justin Soter, North FerrisburghCourtesy: Justin Soter, North Ferrisburgh
    Photos of hail sent in from residents in White River Junction, Williston, and North Ferrisburgh.
    Photos of hail sent in from residents in White River Junction, Williston, and North Ferrisburgh.
  • Ditching the weights and hitting the streets

    Ditching the weights and hitting the streets

    Sunday, July 27 2014 8:43 PM EDT2014-07-28 00:43:36 GMT
    More Americans are picking up running as their main form of exercise.
    More Americans are picking up running as their main form of exercise.
  • Searching for savings

    Searching for savings

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:59:31 GMT
    Governor Shumlin called for across the board cuts to budgets after economists downgraded the state's revenue forecast.
    Governor Shumlin called for across the board cuts to budgets after economists downgraded the state's revenue forecast.
  • Sunday Science: Record heat wave, Mars mission woes, and new gardening method

    Sunday Science: Record heat wave, Mars mission woes, and new gardening method

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:40 AM EDT2014-07-27 15:40:12 GMT
    In Sunday Science, we're taking a look at some of the headlines from this past week.
    In Sunday Science, we're taking a look at some of the headlines from this past week.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.