Police find gun used in killing; link it to stepson


DAVID AUCLAIR WAS shot and killed in the parking lot of the La Platte Headwaters Town Forest in Hinesburg. Police charged his stepson Kory George with possession of the gun that killed him. Independent photo/Christopher Ross

BURLINGTON — Vermont State Police have arrested Kory Lee George, 31, of Monkton for firearms violation charges, including possession of the gun police say was used to kill his stepfather, David Auclair.

“A VSP investigation has established that George possessed the Beretta which was used to kill his stepfather, David Auclair,” said Det. Sergeant James Vooris of the VSP Major Crimes Unit in an affadavit filed with the U.S. District Court in Burlington Wednesday.

David Auclair, 45, a longtime Monkton resident, was shot and killed in the parking lot of the LaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest, off Gilman Road in Hinesburg, at approximately 9:45 p.m. on July 11, police say.

A little over an hour later, Vooris, who was responding to multiple reports of gunshots in the area, discovered Auclair’s body, which “lay partly under a 2017 GMC pickup truck registered in his name,” Vooris explained in the affadavit. “His head and torso were under the truck while his legs protruded. He had been shot multiple times. There was black grease on his hands; it appeared that he may have been trying to crawl under the truck as he was being shot.”

Nine bullets were recovered from Auclair’s body, Vooris went on to say, which the Vermont Forensic Laboratory later concluded had been fired from a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol — one of the two guns Kory George is accused of possessing.

George’s previous felony convictions prohibited him from possessing firearms. He has not been charged with committing homicide, but he has been accused of stealing the Beretta the evening before Auclair was killed.

According to court documents, evidence indicates that on July 10 George stole the Beretta from the Colchester home of an Auclair family friend, James Synnott, while George’s mother and stepfather, Angela and David Auclair, were having dinner with Synnott at a restaurant.

An hour before he stole the gun, George had met Angela Auclair at the University Mall in South Burlington. Then, while she dined with Synnott, Angela Auclair’s boyfriend John Turner, 47, of Huntington, drove George to Colchester and dropped him off near Synnott’s house, said Vooris in his affadavit. George entered Synnott’s house, stayed for about 10 minutes, then left the area with Turner.

The stolen Beretta was test-fired a few hours later near the Auclairs’ Monkton property at 116 Cat Tail Lane, Vooris said.

On July 14, three days after David Auclair was killed, the Beretta was recovered from Lewis Creek, between the Auclairs’ Monkton home and the Hinesburg parking lot where the homicide took place.

The gun’s condition — “it was not corroded or rusted when it was recovered from the creek,” according to the criminal complaint — suggests that it hadn’t been there very long.

Also recovered was a prepaid cellphone that had been used to call David Auclair less than an hour before he was killed, “apparently to lure him to the Hinesburg trailhead,” Vooris said in the affidavit. “Evidence indicates that the cell phone was purchased on July 11, 2019, at the Rite Aid in Milton,” the affidavit said, adding that, though he says he cannot remember what he purchased there, “George has admitted entering the Rite Aid that day.”

This evidence, and the fact that the shooter left no casings at the crime scene, “indicates that the murder of the defendant’s stepfather was carefully planned and executed,” wrote the U.S. Attorney’s office in a court document.

DOMESTIC ISSUES

At the time of David Auclair’s death, he and his wife, Angela, were living together in a Williston home belonging to David’s parents, Robert and Danelle Auclair, Capt. Scott Dunlap, Commander of the VSP Major Crime Unit, told the Independent.

Robert and Danelle Auclair had paid off the mortgage on David and Angela’s Monkton home, 116 Cat Tail Lane, on Jan. 14, 2019, according to town property records, and the property was listed for sale by Greentree Real Estate three months later, on April 11.

VSP’s investigation indicates that prior to their move to Williston, David and Angela Auclair may have become estranged.

“Through this investigation I have learned that John Turner frequently visited their (Monkton) house,” said Vooris in his affidavit. “I am further informed that John Turner had a romantic relationship with Angela Auclair, and that Angela Auclair and David Auclair appeared to maintain separate bedrooms in their home prior to David Auclair’s death.”

The sale listing for 116 Cat Tail Lane was withdrawn on July 12, the day after David Auclair was killed.

Kory Lee George and his girlfriend Kirstin Stillwell also occasionally lived at 116 Cat Tail Lane, in a trailer that was parked in the driveway, the affidavit said.

On Aug. 2, the state police searched that trailer and found the second gun George is accused of possessing — a shotgun allegedly stolen from a hunting camp in upstate New York, where George was known to have visited.

“There are no conditions of release which will reasonably assure the safety of the community or the defendant’s appearance in court,” prosecutors wrote in a Sept. 4 Motion for Detention. George, they said, “is a violent recidivist with a history of violating court-imposed conditions.”

George has five felony convictions in the state of Vermont, according to the criminal complaint: escape, assault and robbery with a weapon, grand larceny, burglary and burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Futhermore, other guns that were reported as stolen from Colchester and upstate New York remain missing “and may also be available to the defendant,” prosecutors said, “heightening the risk the defendant’s release would pose to the community.”

At a bail hearing on Friday, the U.S. District Court in Burlington ordered George to be held without bail until his trial, said Craig LaPorte, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

George’s case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Darrow and Spencer Willig, and George is represented by Federal Defender Michael L. Desaultels.

Desaultels did not respond to the Independent’s request for comment before deadline.

Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected]

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