Burlington Free Press Photo
Vermont State Police investigators work on the scene of a fatal shooting that occurred Wednesday night at 248 North Main St. in St. Albans. A Swanton man allegedly fired 11 shots and killed a Highgate woman.
ST. ALBANS — Police said a Swanton man, distraught after breaking up with his mistress, fired 11 shots and killed a different woman who had confronted him after he ran a red light.
Matthew Webster, 30, pleaded innocent Thursday to the shooting death of Anna Alger, 30, of Highgate, the day before in St. Albans. Authorities said the two didn’t know each other, and described the fatal encounter as road rage.
Webster was held without bail after his arraignment on a charge of second-degree murder in St. Albans criminal court.
Police said Webster had just broken up with a woman with whom he was having an affair, and was followed by his wife who was making sure he ended the relationship. Webster told police he was carrying a gun because he planned to kill himself, court documents said.
On the way home from the breakup, with his wife following, police said, Webster ran a red light and was nearly struck by Alger’s car. Webster’s wife saw him run the light and called to tell him he had done so, court documents said.
Webster pulled over on North Main St. in St. Albans because he realized he was in no condition to drive, police said. He got out of the car, he told police, but didn’t realize he still had the gun in his hand.
Alger had followed him after the near-collision and was yelling at Webster as she approached, police said.
Webster said his wife was watching as Alger charged “like a six-point buck coming over a hill,” Detective Benjamin Couture of St. Albans Police wrote in an affidavit.
Webster told police he shot Alger because he thought that would stop her. But he said she kept coming and he emptied the clip and reloaded, Couture wrote.
Investigators found 11 empty 9 mm shell cases on the road near where Alger was shot, the detective said.
Webster told police that after he shot Alger he tried to shoot himself, but the gun did not fire.
Minutes after the shooting, Webster was arrested nearby.
During Webster’s brief arraignment, Deputy State’s Attorney John Lavoie called the shooting “an act of extreme violence.”
“It was a random act,” Lavoie said. “The defendant and Ms. Alger had no relationship whatsoever.”
Alger’s family was in the courtroom during the arraignment. Several cried loudly while Lavoie described parts of the shooting. Afterward they declined to comment to reporters.
The charge against Webster carries a possible sentence of life in prison.MORE IN Vermont NewsMONTPELIER — Gov. Full Story
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