The 40-year-old woman who shot and killed a Vermont social worker was charged with her murder Monday, court records show. Jody Herring, who allegedly shot and killed Lara Sobel, had lost custody of her 9-year-old daughter, authorities say, and is also suspected in the killing of three of her family members as well. Documents indicate that Herring, just moments after the shooting of Sobel, was “very calm and laughing” with the arresting officers.
The Associated Press reported August 10 that Jody Herring pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court in Barre Monday. The judge ordered the woman held without bail.
Court documents show that Jody Herring was arrested shortly after shooting state social worker Lara Sobel on Friday afternoon. Police say officers got to Herring after she exited the regional office of the state Department for Children and Families (DCF). She had been subdued by Washington County State’s Attorney Scott Williams and bystanders after Williams had taken the gun away from her. Williams, who was inside the DCF building at the time of the shooting, heard the shots. When he got to where the shooting took place, he saw Herring standing near Sobel’s body with a .270-caliber hunting rifle and wrested the gun from her.
Herring was described in the affidavit as “very calm and laughing” minutes following the shooting. Officers said she was still talking about the shooting “like it was no big deal” later in the day.
Charges in that triple homicide — the bodies were found Saturday — were not filed on Monday, USA Today reported, possibly due to time constraints. Still, police believe Herring killed those individuals as well.
The bodies of Regina Herring, 43, and Rhonda Herring, 48, the suspect’s cousins; and Julie Falzarano, 73, an aunt, were found by Tiffany Herring, the daughter of Rhonda, on Saturday. Authorities arrived at the Berlin, Vermont, home and quickly connected Jody Herring to the deaths. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin identified Herring as “the alleged perpetrator” in the four deaths and described the multiple killings as one of Vermont’s deadliest outbursts of violence.
Criminal records indicate that Herring was no stranger to running counter with the law. She has 11 misdemeanor convictions dating back to 1994. Those convictions include drunken driving, domestic assault and disorderly conduct.
Court records also showed that Jody Herring had tried phoning her brother, Dwayne Herring, about two hours prior to when Lara Sobel was killed. She left him two messages. She urged him to call her back immediately in the first message. Then, four minutes later, she left her second, more ominous, message: “Watch the news and you’ll wish you got ahold of me earlier.”