ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) A guilty plea Tuesday for a murder that took place 18 years ago. For the second time, a Vermont man admitted to a judge that he shot his foster mother in cold blood in their West Burke home. Scott Favreau originally pleaded guilty to second-degree murder back in 2002. That conviction was thrown out. Tuesday, Favreau pleaded guilty to first-degree murder instead.
"Justice is a strange term. There is certainly no justice for the homicide of any victim," Caledonia County State's Attorney Lisa Warren said.
Warren was in private practice back in 2000 when then-17-year-old Favreau used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot his foster mother in the back on the head. Vicki Campbell-Beer, a seventh-grade teacher at the Lyndon Town School, was grading papers at the kitchen table.
Tuesday, Favreau pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, bringing the nearly two-decade-old case to an end and offering some closure for the Campbell-Beer family.
"They have waited 18 years to see final closure," Warren said. "Their hearts obviously will never have final closure but the justice system is how we have to deal with crimes."
Back in 2002, Favreau pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 17 years to life. He served only 10. But a year later he was back behind bars for violating parole. Then, in 2017, a judge threw out Favreau's conviction on a technicality.
"The court granted to the post-conviction relief and vacated the conviction and sentence for second-degree murder which landed us back here, essentially at square one," Warren said.
Warren amended the charge to first-degree murder, because this time around, Favreau would not be testifying against his accomplice in the case, Tashia Beer, Vicki Campbell-Beer's stepdaughter. Police say it was Tashia Beer who convinced Favreau to carry out the murder. Tashia Beer pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served six years in prison.
Favreau has already spent 17 years behind bars and was led from court in shackles after Tuesday's hearing.
"This will help bring the family and close friends of Victoria Campbell-Beer one step closer to actually having resolution in this case," Warren said.
Under the agreement, Favreau would serve 40 years to life in prison with most of it suspended, meaning he could be released next summer. The judge still has to sign off. An official sentencing hearing will happen later.