Murder suspect seeks to go home to scene of husband's death

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RUTLAND — A Mount Tabor murder suspect is asking to be released on home detention to the house where she is accused of killing her husband.

Peggy Shores, 52, has been held without bail since her arraignment in February on a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of David Shores, 54, at their home in December.

Her previous attempts to get out on bail with electronic monitoring have been unsuccessful. A judge in July rejected a bid to release her into a relative's home in Wells, saying the location was too remote. Judge Cortland Corsones said Thursday at the close of the hearing in Rutland Superior Court that he would take the latest request under advisement. He said it will be at least two weeks before he issues a decision.

Steven Howard, Peggy Shores' attorney, argued in court Thursday that Mount Tabor is not as remote as Wells and has cell service, which the relative's residence lacked. That allows for a more up-to-date monitoring system to be used, Howard added, instead of one that relies on a landline.

"It's the latest model that's been approved," Howard said of the monitoring system.

Rutland County State's Attorney Rose Kennedy countered that the response time for a state trooper from the Rutland barracks to the Mount Tabor home is at least 30 minutes.

She also said Shores faces life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder, giving her incentive to flee.

"She could cut the bracelet off and she'd be gone," Kennedy said of the electronic monitoring device that would be attached to Shores' ankle if she were released on home detention.

Howard told the judge there is no "perfect" monitoring system and that the response time, no matter the location of the residence, will never be "immediate."

More importantly, he said, his client doesn't want to flee, but wants to prove her innocence.

"She's chosen to face these charges head on," the defense attorney added.

Kennedy said there was an "appropriate system" to address Shores' risk of fleeing.

"It's incarceration," the prosecutor said, calling for Shores to remain jailed without bail pending trial.

The two attorneys presented their arguments after Kevin Peck, a corrections officer, testified that he visited the Shores' home on Brooklyn Road as part of determining if it would be an eligible location for home detention.

He said he found a crossbow, some lock-blade knives and a pellet gun in an attic area that were then removed from the residence.

Peck called it a "typical Vermont home," adding it took him 32 minutes to get there from the corrections office in downtown Rutland.

Howard, Shores' attorney, asked Peck if it were an appropriate residence for the electronic monitoring program.

"The residence meets the criteria of home detention," Peck responded.

Peck also testified about the monitoring system, which went online July 1, and how notifications are sent to corrections officials if a problem is detected.

He took several questions about the process, ranging from who monitors the system to who gets a notification if a problem arises.

Determining how soon corrections officers could respond to an alert, he said, depended on several factors, including the time and day of an alert, and where corrections officers and state police troopers are when the alert comes in.

Shores has pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder. According to court records, she called 911 to report a shooting Dec. 11, later telling police her husband tripped and fell on the stairs while carrying a loaded gun, accidentally shooting and killing himself.

Authorities did not arrest her for more than two months after the shooting while they investigated.

Police say the downward trajectory of the bullet, the location of the wound on the left upper chest and the lack of gunshot residue in that area make it impossible for David Shores to have fired the fatal shot.

Scottie Frederick, David Shores' sister, also testified Thursday. She had earlier agreed to let Peggy Shores, who is accused of killing her brother, stay at her residence in Wells on home detention.

Now, Frederick testified, she was willing to live with Shores at the Mount Tabor residence and call police if there is any violation of the conditions of release.

Frederick was joined in court by several of David Shores' family members who have attended every court hearing in the case in support of Peggy Shores.

Kennedy, the prosecutor, asked Frederick if any of those family members supporting Peggy Shores have been willing to meet with authorities regarding the state's evidence.

"Not that I know of," Frederick said.

Frederick also said she would put up her home in Wells or her vehicle as bail, but the bank owned both.

"How much could you put up?" the prosecutor asked.

"I have a thousand bucks I could put toward it," Frederick replied.

This story first appeared on VTDigger.org.

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