timberland boots nubuck Father shot to death
SHAFTSBURY A 36 year old North Bennington man was shot to death in front of three of his children Saturday, and his former brother in law will face first degree murder charges Monday.
Ronald Wilkins, 36, died in the arms of 14 year old son, Cody, according to Wilkins mother, Emma Baker of Shaftsbury, and confirmed by state police detectives.
Christmas allegedly shot Wilkins four times at his wife parents home, where Wilkins had brought three of his four children to cool off with a swim during Saturday steamy weather.
Family members said they didn really know what exactly was behind the shooting, and Vermont State Police Detective Lt. Tim Oliver said police were trying to pinpoint the motive of the shooting.
But Oliver said it was clear from interviews with friends and family that the two men had had disagreement about a specific issue. two men had married two sisters, according to Wilkins mother and Oliver, although Wilkins and Christine Harrington were divorced. Baker said the two men had known each other for about 20 years.
Baker said her son children, Cody, 14, Kari, 12, and Pascal, 9, saw their uncle, Michael Christmas, shoot their father, and there were other neighborhood children present as well. The three were at their grandfather Ken Harrington house with their dad, she said.
Their mother is Christine Harrington, and Christine sister, Tina, is married to Christmas, she said. Ken Harrington was inside the house resting when the shooting took place, she said.
Baker said her grandchildren were devastated by their father murder, and the fact that they saw it happen.
a terrible tragedy and it could ruin their lives, she said, adding that Wilkins children spent Sunday at their father church, The Bible Baptist Church in Bennington, with their cousins and their pastor.
daughter saw her father shot, a son saw his father shot; it just a horrible tragedy, Oliver said.
Baker said Cody and Kari lived with their father and his longtime girlfriend, Pam Conley, in North Bennington, and Pascal lived with his mother.
Baker said Cody blamed himself for not protecting his father. said he couldn save his dad, and that he was choking on his blood, she said.
miss him so much. He loved the Lord, he really knew the Lord, Baker said, noting her son was very active in The Bible Baptist Church on Harwood Hill. always had a beautiful smile on his face and he had beautiful blue eyes. said Christmas rode his bicycle to his father in law house and shot Wilkins at close range, and then rode his bicycle home, which is a short distance from the Harrington home.
Wilkins father, Ronald Wilkins Sr. of Bennington, and his mother of Shaftsbury Hollow said he had been shot four times at close range. His father said his son had been shot in the neck area, the stomach, and twice in the legs. Post Office in Bennington, and as far as he knew had no criminal record. He said that state police, armed with a search warrant, found what they believe is the murder weapon, a 9 mm pistol, at the Christmas home.
The police detective said that Christmas gave self incriminating statements about the shooting to Detective Sgt. Reginald Trayah, the lead investigator in the case. The detective also confirmed a report from Wilkins mother that Christmas went home, laid down on his couch, and told his wife, Tina, just shot Ron Wilkins. two had seen each other earlier in the day, according to the family and the police, during a street fair in Shaftsbury, a small Bennington County town just north of Bennington and very close to North Bennington.
Her son had a cordial relationship with his former in laws, she said, and loved his children deeply.
His fourth child, Sam, 5, who her son had fathered with Pam Conley, was not there, and neither was Conley, according to his mother.
Baker said her son was an organ donor and despite his gunshot wounds, doctors were able to honor his wishes in that regard.
donated other parts of his body to help other people, she said. lot of people loved him. There will be hundreds of people at his funeral. services are not complete, she said, as the family was still waiting for his remains to be returned from the medical examiner office, where his body was taken for an autopsy.
Ron Wilkins Sr. said his son, one of four children, was a self employed carpenter and roofer, and was in good physical shape.
been told he could bench press 500 pounds, Oliver said. was a very, very strong man. his mother, said her son regularly worked out and jogged, and was quite muscular.