3 charged in 2018 Northeast Kingdom shooting death

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 6:15 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - After two years of investigation, three people now face federal charges in connection with a drug-related murder in the Northeast Kingdom.

Michael Pimental’s body was found along a road in Concord, Vermont, in October 2018. According to federal court documents, Pimental was involved in a heroin ring with then-girlfriend Krystal Whitcomb.

Soon after Pimental’s body was found, Whitcomb was charged with multiple federal weapons crimes and was held in jail.

 Michael Pimental
Michael Pimental (WCAX)

Whitcomb, along with 38-year-old Michael Hayes and 34-year old John Welch of Woodsville, New Hampshire, now face some of the most serious federal gun charges connected to drug trafficking. Authorities say the trio planned Pimental’s murder and Welch pulled the trigger.

Court records reveal Welch tried to sell the suspected murder weapon in February 2019 and police later found him trying to dig up the frozen ground in Bath, New Hampshire. When police searched that scene later in June, they found a backpack with what they believe is the murder weapon

The trio all face charges of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime where death resulted. Each could face the death penalty, but U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan says the government will instead push for each to serve a life sentence.

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