LEICESTER — More than a week after police say Timothy Foley shot his neighbor and two state troopers, the motive for the crime remains unclear.
According to court documents, Foley did not offer a motive for his actions in interviews conducted by detectives the morning of the shooting.
Police allege that Foley, 47, broke into the home of Mahlon and Joyce McCoy in the early hours of April 6 and shot Mahlon in the face, and also fired at Joyce, but missed by a few inches. Prosecutors said Foley subsequently shot two state troopers who were attempting to persuade Foley to speak with them. All shots were discharged from a 12-gauge shotgun.
Foley on April 7 was arraigned on two charges of attempted murder and two charges of aggravated murder. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Neighbors, even those who had lived near Foley for years, said Thursday that they had little interaction with him, while the victims’ family said Foley was familiar to them.
Sadie Mason, the daughter of Mahlon and Joyce McCoy, said her parents knew Foley and interacted with him regularly. She said Foley assisted her mother with handiwork after a stroke in 2008 left her father, a Vietnam veteran, partially paralyzed.
“He helped out around the house,” Mason said. “If they had a problem, he’d help out with it.”
Mason remembered growing up with the Foley children; Timothy was a few years her senior. Mason said she could not recall anything out of the ordinary about Foley, but added she hasn’t seen him in years.
“I didn’t know he had issues,” Mason said. “Everyone said he did, but I don’t know.”
Mason said her parents never believed that Foley was mentally unstable, and had no negative interactions with Foley until the night of the shooting.
Mason said that nothing was taken from her parents’ house the night of the shooting, and added that her mother told her all of the couple’s prescription drugs were accounted for.
She said she could not think of any reason why Foley would try to murder her parents.
“We don’t know,” Mason said. “That’s our big question — ‘Why?’
Mason said her father is slowly recovering, and added that her parents do not plan on returning to their home.
Foley has no criminal history in Addison County, but has been cited for several offenses in Rutland County dating back to the early 1990s.
In 1994, prosecutors charged Foley with domestic assault, and in 1997 Foley was cited for disorderly conduct. Before last week, Foley’s most recent arrest was in 2011, when police cited him for driving a vehicle at excessive speed.
While the McCoys may not have thought Foley suffered from mental illness, court records indicate that state police were aware of mental issues Foley may have had.
Det. Sgt. Robert Patten wrote in the affidavit detailing the shooting that Foley “is known to law enforcement as having both a drug and mental health history.”
Patten did not immediately return a call for comment, nor did Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster, the prosecutor assigned to Foley’s case.
Just hours before the shooting, Brandon Police said Foley called 911 and reported hearing a child screaming in the woods near his home. Police arrived at the scene at approximately 10:30 p.m. the night of the shooting, spoke with Foley and noted that he appeared “out of it, possibly intoxicated.”
According to Brandon police, a neighbor of Timothy Foley said Foley’s mother had told them that he was schizophrenic and was not taking his medication. The officers did not find any evidence to corroborate Foley’s complaint.
It is unclear if Foley was formally employed, or how he spent his time. According to Leicester town records, the home in which Foley lived, located at 1509 Lake Dunmore road, is owned by his mother, Nellie Foley. Nellie Foley and her husband live several hundred feet up the road, at 1623 Lake Dunmore Road.
Nellie Foley declined to comment Thursday.
NEIGHBORS HAVE LITTLE CONTACT
A half dozen neighbors on Lake Dunmore Road described Foley as a man who kept to himself. One woman, who has lived near Foley for more than a decade, said they have never spoken.
The same neighbor said she has seen police cars in Foley’s driveway many times since they have been neighbors. She said she forbids her teenage girls from playing in the yard because she feared for their safety.
On April 6, the night of the shooting, the neighbor said she did not go to bed until 2 a.m. She was awoken an hour later by flashing police lights, and heard the predawn firefight.
The neighbor said she believed that because her lights were on so late into the evening, Foley might have been dissuaded from targeting her instead.
If Foley is ever released from custody, the neighbor said she fears for her safety.
“If he moves back there, I’m leaving,” the neighbor said.