Police: Florida woman helped Burlington murder suspects

Published: Apr. 23, 2019 at 6:00 AM EDT
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Court documents say a Florida woman arrested Monday in connection with a deadly Burlington shooting helped aid the killers.

Takesha Thomas, 26, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to assisting the suspects charged in the shooting death of Benzel Hampton last Tuesday. The 23-year-old Florida man was shot at 2:45 p.m. on North Willard Street in what police say was a drug-related dispute.

Thomas is one of six people arrested in connection with the shooting, along with James Felix, 36, Brandon Sanders, 18, Johnny Ford, 32, Lesine Woodson, 32, and Angelina Pearson-Fitzpatrick, 54.

Police Monday said they found the weapons used in the murder, along with magazines and ammo in the woods near Burlington, but did not say where.

In court Tuesday Thomas was charged with being an accessory after the fact, for allegedly helping dispose of clothing worn during the shooting by one of the suspects -- Johnny Ford.

She allegedly told police she and Fitzpatrick dumped the trash bag full of clothing behind a grocery store -- but couldn't identify which one.

Police say she also used a relative's name booked a hotel room for herself, Fitzpatrick, Sanders, and Ford in Massachusetts the night of the shooting.

Fitzpatrick was supposed to be in court Tuesday as well to face accessory charges too, but her arraignment got postponed. Authorities say the Burlington woman was admitted to the hospital. They wouldn't say why.

Ford and Sanders are still in Connecticut awaiting extradition to Vermont -- likely to happen Wednesday. Felix remains hospitalized.