Who murdered Michael Pimental?
It's been eight months since a Waterford man was found dead on the side of the road in Concord. While there are still no murder charges against the four prime suspects, they have been charged with federal crimes in connection with the case.
According to federal court documents, Krystal Whitcomb was involved in a heroin ring with Michael Pimental. So was her father, Shawn Whitcomb. Authorities say the father and daughter brought ammunition purchased in New Hampshire to Vermont days before Pimental was found dead. The Whitcombs were indicted on multiple federal gun and drug charges.
Pimental's blood was found in the trunk of his own car. Krystal Whitcomb and Michael Hayes were pulled over driving that vehicle just says after Pimental was found dead. Hayes was indicted on a federal ammunition charge.
This week a fourth person of interest was arrested. Authorities say John Welch pleaded not guilty to a federal gun charge. Prosecutors say he had the gun that was used to kill Pimental. A federal judge Thursday ordered the North Haverhill, New Hampshire, man to continue to be held.
U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan says the recent uptick in federal gun charges from her office in this case and others is very intentional. "We are doing more gun charges and I want us to be. I think the federal law enforcement has a real role to play in making the public safer through federal gun charges," she said.
Despite all the gun, ammunition and drug charges, no one is accused of killing Pimental. But court documents show the death penalty would be on the table if the feds can prove that Pimental was killed as a result of his involvement in drug trafficking. The decision to pursue the death penalty would be made by U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
Vermont has no death penalty but Vermonters could be asked to sit on a federal jury and consider it. Vermont State Police are also continuing their work in the homicide investigation and officials say they are making progress on the case.