By WILSON RING Associated Press
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A 30-year-old woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges in connection with the 2018 shooting death of a man in the rural Vermont town of Waterford.
Krystal Whitcomb entered the plea Tuesday during a video change-of-plea hearing in U.S. District Court.
Whitcomb pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and 100 grams or more of heroin.
During the hearing Whitcomb answered the questions from U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss as the judge outlined the change-of-plea process and asked Whitcomb if she understood.
Twice Whitcomb answered “guilty” when asked by Reiss what her plea was to the two charges.
Sentencing is scheduled for February. Whitcomb could be sentenced to not less than five years and up to life in prison. The sentence will be decided by Reiss.
A second defendant, Michael Hayes, has a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for Friday. A plea agreement filed with the court says that Hayes will plead guilty to possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and being an accessory after the fact.
The man charged with firing the shots that killed Pimental — John Welch, of Woodsville, New Hampshire — is still facing trial.
A plea agreement said Whitcomb watched through a window as Welch shot and killed Whitcomb’s boyfriend Michael Pimental at their Waterford home. Pimental’s body was found on Oct. 14, 2018, by the side of the road in Concord.
The plea agreement did not suggest a motive for the killing.
During the video hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Boscia outlined the charges against Whitcomb. He said that from the spring of 2016 through October 2018, Whitcomb and Pimental stored large quantities of heroin at the Waterford home and distributed the drug in Caledonia County and elsewhere.
On Oct. 13, Whitcomb and Welch, drove from Lyndon to Whitcomb’s home where she watched through a window while Welch shot Pimental.
The next day, Whitcomb and Hayes were stopped by police in Grafton County, New Hampshire, driving a car that was registered to Pimental. Police seized firearms, heroin and more than $14,000 in U.S. currency. Pimental’s blood was found in the trunk.
Whitcomb is being held at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington.