Judge drops murder charge against Baird

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY — Judge Michael Kupersmith has decided that the third man charged in the 2010 killing of Mary Pat O’Hagan of Sheffield will not be tried for first-degree murder. Keith Baird, 35, of Sheffield will still be tried for burglary and kidnapping, but not in Caledonia County.

Mr. Baird, who pled innocent to the charges in March of 2014, has also filed notice that he intends to argue he has an alibi showing he was not present when the 78-year-old Mrs. O’Hagan was shot during a break-in at her Sheffield home.

Although two other men who have already pled guilty to involvement in Mrs. O’Hagan’s death have said Mr. Baird was with them at her house, he denies it. Mr. Baird said through Robert Katims, his lawyer, that he was wearing a GPS tracker at the time of crime.

The tracking device, he said, shows he was not present at Mrs. O’Hagan’s house on September 10, when she was shot during an attempted burglary.

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Baird wants murder charge dropped

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY  – The last of the three men charged in the 2010 murder of 78-year-old Mary Pat O’Hagan of Sheffield is asking to have a charge of felony murder dismissed and to have his trial on the remaining burglary and kidnapping charges moved out of Caledonia County.

On Friday, Keith J. Baird, 35, of Sheffield, and his lawyer, Robert Katims, were in the Criminal Division of Caledonia County Superior Court.  Mr. Katims sought to persuade Judge Michael Kupersmith that publicity about the case has made it impossible to pick an unbiased jury locally.  He also argued that the state could not show that Mr. Baird intended…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Shooter in O’Hagan killing sentenced to 23 to 50 years

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Michael Norrie sits at the defense table during a recess at his sentencing hearing. Photos by Joseph Gresser

Michael Norrie sits at the defense table during a recess at his sentencing hearing. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle December 9, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY — The man who admitted firing the shot that killed Mary Pat O’Hagan will spend at least 22 years in prison. Judge Robert Gerety, sitting in the Caledonia Criminal Division of Superior Court on December 3, accepted the plea agreement worked out between Michael Norrie, 25, of Sheffield, and the state.

His sentence calls for a 23-to-50-year term, all but 23 years of which will be suspended. Mr. Norrie will be credited with time already served, about one year, according to Caledonia County State’s Attorney Lisa Warren.

In July Mr. Norrie pled guilty to burglary, kidnapping, and first-degree murder in the slaying of Mrs. O’Hagan, a 78-year-old Sheffield resident. The sentencing agreement was put forward at that time, but Judge Robert Bent, who was serving in Caledonia County, asked for a pre-sentence investigation before approving the deal.

Judge Gerety, in signing off on the… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Sheffield Field Day is animated by competition

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Edmond Lehous, left, stands and watches as his horseshoe heads for the stake.  To his right Gilbert Goodrich watches his hopes for a winning game go down the drain.  It wasn’t a new experience for Mr. Goodrich, who said his horseshoe team finished second this year to the one on which Mr. Lehous plays.  Photo by Joseph Gresser.

Edmond Lehous, left, stands and watches as his horseshoe heads for the stake. To his right Gilbert Goodrich watches his hopes for a winning game go down the drain. It wasn’t a new experience for Mr. Goodrich, who said his horseshoe team finished second this year to the one on which Mr. Lehous plays. Photo by Joseph Gresser.

copyright the Chronicle September 9, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

SHEFFIELD — On the surface the Sheffield Field Day is a carefree celebration of Labor Day and a summer’s harvest. Scratch the cheerful surface and you find that a fierce competitive spirit animates the entire event.

Judges scan the parade and award prizes to the best floats. Across the road vegetables are examined, and the finest festooned with ribbons, and on the midway youngsters and their parents test their skill in games of chance that pit sharp darts against tender balloons.

Most years, although sadly not this year, teams of horses contest to see which can pull the heaviest loads. And every year players of every age keep a sharp eye on multiple cards as the bingo caller cries out his numbers.

It seems that only the chicken barbecue…  To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Eighth fiddlers’ contest at Sheffield Field Day

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When Patrick Ross, now of Newbury, walks into a fiddler’s competition, the outcome is usually a foregone conclusion. Once again, the Canaan native took top honors at the Sheffield Field Day Fiddler’s Contest in 2014. Photo by Joseph Gresser

On Labor Day, Monday, September 7, Sheffield Field Day will host its annual Pat O’Hagan Memorial Fiddlers’ Contest in the gym at Miller’s Run School, at 3249 Vermont Route 122, at 2 p.m. Registration for fiddlers will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Participants are asked to perform three pieces: a waltz, a hoedown, and a tune of their choice, such as a jig or strathspey.

The Fiddlers’ Contest at Sheffield Field Day was founded in 2007 by Malcolm Goldstein, a violinist and composer who has spent his summers in Sheffield since the 1960s. In 2011, the Fiddlers’ Contest was renamed in honor of Pat O’Hagan, who ran the contest for several years until her death in 2010.

Since its early years, the contest has been a beloved and popular event at Sheffield Field Day, drawing participants from as far away as Maine and Stanstead, Québec.

The contest is free and open to all ages, with competitive categories for youngsters (under 12), juniors (12 to 18), adults (over 18), and seniors (over 60). The prize money for first and second place winners is $40 and $25 respectively in the youngster category, $100 and $70 respectively in the junior category, and $200 and $150 respectively in both the adult and senior categories.

For questions, call Bobbie Bristol at (802) 626-8293 or e-mail at [email protected] — submitted by Bobbie Bristol.

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Wheelock and Dartmouth connection explained

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Noah Manning welcomes Dartmouth College President Philip Hanlon to Miller’s Run School in Sheffield.  Jill (Tune) Faulkner (back, left), chairman of the Miller’s Run board, and Principal Sikander Rashid (back, right) paused from their work feeding the 50 or so local residents who turned out to meet President Hanlon, and listened to the Miller’s Run graduate speak.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Noah Manning welcomes Dartmouth College President Philip Hanlon to Miller’s Run School in Sheffield. Jill (Tune) Faulkner (back, left), chairman of the Miller’s Run board, and Principal Sikander Rashid (back, right) paused from their work feeding the 50 or so local residents who turned out to meet President Hanlon, and listened to the Miller’s Run graduate speak. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle July 15, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

SHEFFIELD — Noah Manning, a sophomore at Dartmouth College, brought a school friend home recently. He was Philip Hanlon, the president of Dartmouth. His visit to Miller’s Run School, where Mr. Manning got his early education, brought out a crowd for a community meal and a celebration of the link between an Ivy League school and a Northeast Kingdom town.

When Eleazer Wheelock founded Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1769, he had a problem: His plan of educating native Americans and English missionaries was not calculated to bring in a great deal of money. He appealed to the Republic of Vermont for assistance, but aside from expressions of moral support, the Legislature offered little in the way of tangible support during his life.

John Wheelock, Eleazer’s son, became… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Sheffield wind: Therriens to appeal reappraisal denial

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Luann Therrien in the front yard of her home in Sheffield.   Photo by Tena Starr

Luann Therrien in the front yard of her home in Sheffield. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle October 8, 2014

by Tena Starr

SHEFFIELD — It was a spectacular Friday afternoon in October — blue sky, warm weather, and the wind rustling the leaves on the trees.

Beneath that sound, however, there was a low grinding noise in Steve and Luann Therrien’s front yard.

“It’s not something that goes on every day,” Ms. Therrien said. “But it’s been all day today and all day yesterday.”

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Murder charges brought in O’Hagan killing

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Keith Baird is brought into the Vermont Superior Court in Caledonia County’s criminal division on Monday to face charges of murder, kidnapping, and burglary.  Photo by Todd Wellington, courtesy of the Caledonian-Record.

Keith Baird is brought into the Vermont Superior Court in Caledonia County’s criminal division on Monday to face charges of murder, kidnapping, and burglary. Photo by Todd Wellington, courtesy of the Caledonian-Record.

copyright the Chronicle March 12, 2014

by Bethany M. Dunbar

ST. JOHNSBURY  — Two men have been charged with the murder and kidnapping of Mary Pat O’Hagan, a 78-year-old Sheffield grandmother who was killed three and a half years before the arraignments Monday, to the day.  A third man has been cited.

Keith J. Baird, 33, who is in jail in St. Johnsbury, and Richard Fletcher, 27, who is in jail in Springfield, pled innocent to the charges, which also included burglary, were assigned public defenders, and were sent back to jail and ordered to stay away from 28 specific people, including witnesses, co-defendants, and members of the O’Hagan family.

Michael Norrie, 23, has been cited for the same charges and faces extradition from a prison in Pennsylvania to face the charges.

All three men are from Sheffield.

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Police make arrests in the murder of Pat O’Hagan

Mary Pat O’Hagan was a dedicated community volunteer, mother and grandmother, and organizer of the Sheffield Field Day each Labor Day.  Photo courtesy of the O’Hagan family

Mary Pat O’Hagan was a dedicated community volunteer, mother and grandmother, and organizer of the Sheffield Field Day each Labor Day. Photo courtesy of the O’Hagan family

After three and a half years of investigation by detectives and tips from the public with key information; police said citations were issued in the September 2010 murder of Pat O’Hagan. Richard Fletcher, age 27 of Sheffield, and Keith Baird, age 33 of Sutton (Fletcher’s brother); were both cited for burglary, kidnapping, and first degree murder of Pat O’Hagan. Mr. Baird also faces an additional charge as a habitual offender. Affidavits submitted on Friday, March 7, to the Vermont Superior Court, Caledonia Criminal Division were accepted for probable cause. An arrest warrant has been granted for the arrest of Michael Norrie, age 23 of St. Johnsbury who is being charged with burglary, kidnapping, and first degree murder.

Keith Baird is currently being held at the Northeast Regional Correctional
Center in St. Johnsbury for a lack of bail on multiple counts of violations
of conditions of release, habitual offender, and violations of an abuse
prevention order. Richard Fletcher is a Vermont inmate housed at a
correctional facility in Kentucky; although he was recently brought back to
Vermont and is being held at southern Vermont facility center in
Springfield serving a sentence for sexual exploitation of a minor. Michael
Norrie is serving a sentence in federal jail in Pennsylvania on federal gun
crimes.

Baird and Fletcher will be arraigned on the above listed charges on Monday, March 10, 2014, at 12:30PM. The arrest warrant obtained for Norrie will start the process of his extradition back to Vermont.

Pat O’Hagan was last seen on September 10, 2010. Her body was found nearly four weeks later on Horn Road in Wheelock, Vermont, on October 3, 2010; approximately ten miles from her home at 3064 Route 122 in Sheffield.

The Vermont State Police extend their appreciation to the Sheffield
community, Vermonters, and the media for their help and dedication in
keeping Pat O’Hagan’s memory alive.

Questions regarding the case should be directed to the Caledonia County
State’s Attorney. – from Vermont State Police.

To read a related story from past coverage, click here.

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