The Vermont State Police is investigating an apparent fatal shooting in the town of Newbury. The suspect was taken into custody peacefully early Tuesday morning, May 4, 2021, following a standoff and is expected to be charged with murder.
The suspect is 70-year-old James Perry Jr of Newbury. The victim in this incident is identified as Karina Rheaume, 38, of Newbury, the daughter of the suspect in her death.
An autopsy was performed Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington on victim Karina Rheaume.
The cause of death was determined to be shotgun wounds of the head and torso, and the manner of death is homicide.
State police investigators concluded their work at the scene Wednesday and released it to the family.
Police believe the incident occurred Monday afternoon when the victim went to visit Perry at his home on Deerfield Lane. After not hearing from the victim for several hours, an acquaintance went to the house and encountered Perry, who was armed with a rifle and told him that the victim was dead. The acquaintance left the area and called the police at about 7:10 pm Monday.
70-year-old James Perry Jr of Newbury. VSP photo
Responding troopers found that Perry was inside his home and refusing to come out. The Vermont State Police’s Tactical Services Unit and Crisis Negotiation Unit were dispatched to Deerfield Lane and ultimately were successful in peacefully resolving the standoff at about 1 a.m. Tuesday, when Perry came out of the home and was taken into custody without further incident.
The investigation is in its early stages. Detectives with the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit and Bureau of Criminal Investigations, joined by members of the Crime Scene Search Team and Field Force Division, have responded to the scene and are working on the case. The Vermont State Police victim services director is working with the victim’s family and loved ones.
Perry is in custody pending arraignment. The timing and location of the arraignment are currently unknown. Perry is expected to face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment.
The victim’s body will be taken to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to confirm the cause and manner of death.
No additional information is available at this time. The affidavit of probable cause will be filed with the court and made public following Perry’s arraignment.
The Vermont State Police will provide updated information as the investigation continues.
Further information will be contained in the affidavit of probable cause filed with the court.
***Update No. 1, 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, 2021***
Murder suspect James Perry Jr. is scheduled for arraignment at 3 p.m. today in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in St. Johnsbury.
Members of the media should call the Court Clerk’s Office prior to arraignment to confirm details of the proceeding. Interview requests should be made to the Orange County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Source: NEWBURY, Vermont (Tuesday, May 4, 2021) — Vermont State Police