LEICESTER — A Leicester man could face life in prison if he is found guilty of shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police troopers in an incident early Sunday morning.
Timothy Foley, 47, refused to appear at his arraignment in Rutland Superior Court, criminal division, Monday afternoon, and a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf to two charges of attempted murder and two charges of aggravated attempted murder.
Police allege that Foley broke into the Lake Dunmore Road home of Mahlon and Joyce McCoy a little before 3 a.m. Sunday and shot Mahlon McCoy, 65, and attempted to shoot his wife, Joyce, 60, before returning to his home across the road. When police surrounded Foley’s home, he shot two troopers who were attempting to get Foley to come outside and talk with them.
All of the victims sustained non-life threatening injuries, and all were out of the hospital by Wednesday.
The affidavit, written by VSP Det. Sgt. Robert Patten, alleges that Foley, who lives at 1509 Lake Dunmore Road, entered the McCoys’ locked residence at 1496 Lake Dunmore Road and went to the bedroom where the McCoys were sleeping.
According to police, Foley carried a shotgun loaded with a mix of birdshot, buckshot and slugs. Foley shot Mahlon McCoy, who was partially paralyzed after sustaining a stroke in 2008, in the head with buckshot, according to the affidavit. He then allegedly fired a slug at Joyce McCoy that missed her by a matter of feet and passed through the headboard of the bed and several interior walls before exiting the house.
According to the affidavit, Foley is “known to law enforcement as having both a drug and mental health history.”
Police said Joyce McCoy waited about five minutes before calling 911 because she feared the assailant, who she did not initially know was Foley, was still in the home. She called police at 2:58 a.m. to report her husband had been shot.
After McCoy’s 911 call, officers from Vermont State Police and the Brandon Police Department arrived on and secured the scene, and emergency personnel transported Mahlon McCoy to Porter Medical Center in Middlebury. Officers found a shotgun shell on the floor of the McCoys’ bedroom. Shortly before 4 a.m., VSP Sgt. Eugene Duplissis discovered tracks leading from the McCoy home across the street to Foley’s home. Duplissis also found blood on the door of Foley’s home. Based on this information, police set up a perimeter around the home at 1509 Lake Dunmore Road.
No one answered when police knocked on the door of the home. Duplissis shouted that he was with the state police, and invited Foley to come outside to speak with officers. At this point, darkness began to recede. The sun rose on Sunday at 6:24 a.m., with first light detected around 5:20 a.m.
While setting up the perimeter, another neighbor of Foley notified police that Foley had called him from inside Foley’s home. From the neighbor’s home, Trooper Cathy Cappetta spoke with Foley by phone multiple times. According to the affidavit, Foley told Cappetta he was “just trying to protect himself.” Cappetta told Foley police were not there to harm him, but Foley hung up on her.
Four uniformed troopers — Duplissis, Cappetta, Trooper Matt Daley and Trooper Joseph Szarejko — maintained the perimeter.
During this standoff, police said Foley broke a window of his home and fired at police, striking Daley in the head and face. Duplissis threw a flash bang grenade, which did not detonate, in an attempt to create a diversion in order to drag Daley to safety. Duplissis also ran up to the home, smashed a window and fired into the house.
During the firefight, Duplissis was also shot in the head and face, with what officers believed to be birdshot. Daley and Duplissis were able to take cover behind a woodpile, next to Cappetta.
After 20 to 30 minutes, police said, Foley yelled to police and asked if he could come out. Cappetta ordered Foley out of the home with his hands raised, and he complied. Cappetta then placed Foley in handcuffs.
After Foley surrendered, police searched the home and found a single firearm, a loaded twelve-gauge shotgun police believe Foley used in all three shootings. Police also found three spent shells inside the home.
Troopers took Duplissis and Daley to Porter Hospital. One trooper was release that afternoon, and the other was transferred to Fletcher Allen to have shot removed and likewise was released.
Troopers Daley and Duplissis, who both work out of the New Haven barracks, were placed on administrative leave, per department protocol. Lt. Michael Manley, the New Haven troop commander, said Wednesday that Duplissis and Daley remained on medical leave, and did not know when they would return to work. He said that despite the absence of two officers, the remaining seven troopers and two sergeants would provide the same level of service to the community.
Manley praised the conduct of his troopers during the incident.
“It was a tough situation, and they did a great job,” Manley said. “They performed their duties as Vermont state police.”
BEFORE THE SHOOTINGS
According to Brandon Police Chief Christopher Brickell, two Brandon police officers responded to a 911 call at Foley’s residence just hours before the shooting.
Brickell said state police asked Brandon to handle the call at 10:40 p.m. Saturday night because they were busy with other calls.
Brandon officers responded to 1509 Lake Dunmore Road and spoke with Foley, who reported “hearing a child screaming in the woods across the road” from his house, Brickell said. The officers said that Foley appeared “out of it, possibly intoxicated.”
The officers searched the area around Foley’s house, the chief said, then went across the street and spoke to the neighbors, including the McCoys. One neighbor just up the road asked if Foley was the complainant. When the officers responded that he was, Brickell said the neighbors told the officers that Foley’s mother had told them he was schizophrenic and was not taking his medication.
The officers left without finding anything to substantiate Foley’s claim of a child screaming in the woods, only to return to the house roughly four hours later after the shooting.
Foley was arraigned in Rutland because a judge was unavailable to preside in Addison Superior Court, Criminal Division. In court Monday, three rows of the Rutland courtroom gallery were occupied by two dozen uniformed state troopers, on hand to show their support for their fellow officers injured in the line of duty. Multiple media outlets and McCoy’s family members took up the remaining seats on that side of the courtroom, and waited.
When Foley refused to appear in court, Judge Michael Pratt recessed the arraignment for more than an hour. After Pratt reconvened the court, defense Attorney Mary Kay Lanthier said that Foley was “not willing to be here of his own free will.” She entered a plea of not guilty on Foley’s behalf to two charges of second-degree attempted murder (for shooting Mahlon McCoy and shooting at Joyce McCoy), and two counts of attempted aggravated murder (for shooting the two troopers). Each charge carries a potential life sentence.
Pratt said the recess had involved “weighing whether it would be of value in physically compelling Mr. Foley to be here,” but in the end decided it would not.
Pratt requested that the Addison County court set an evidentiary hearing at the “earliest available date.”
Pratt approved Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster’s request that Foley be held without bail under the conditions that he have no contact whatsoever with any of the four alleged victims in the case.
Foley will remain in custody at Marble Valley Correctional Facility without bail.
FAMILY LOOKS FOR ANSWERS
The allegation that Foley may be severely mentally ill was news to members of Mahlon McCoy’s family in court Monday. McCoy’s daughter, Sadie Mason, 42, of Shoreham, said that her family had known Foley for years and that he had a neighborly relationship with her parents.
“We don’t understand why he did this,” she said. “He always helped out my parents. We’ve known him his whole life.”
When asked about Foley’s alleged mental illness, Mason said she knew nothing about it.
“That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that,” she said.
Mason was grateful that her mother was unhurt in the incident. Police investigation revealed a shotgun slug in the wall above Joyce McCoy’s side of the bed that went through two walls before exiting the house. Police said the shotgun recovered at Foley’s house was loaded with a combination of buckshot and shotgun slugs.
Mason said there is something else to be grateful for — her father was shot on the right side of his face and head, the side that was paralyzed by a stroke in 2008.
“The only blessing is that he was hit on his right side, so he couldn’t feel anything,” she said, but added that he will need reconstructive surgery to repair his cheek torn apart by the buckshot, which also tore off a third of his right ear.
The stroke rendered McCoy, a Vietnam vet and father of five, paralyzed on his right side, unable to walk and affected his speech and sight.
In the courtroom Monday with Mason was her one-month-old grandnephew, Landon, one of McCoy’s five great-grandchildren.
Mason said she and her siblings went to their parents’ house before heading to the courthouse in Rutland.
“That’s when it hit us,” she said shaking her head. “All that blood, that’s when it really hit us.”
Mason said her parents had lived in the house on Lake Dunmore Road for 20 years and were working to make it more handicapped-accessible for her father. She said her father told her mom in the hospital to sell the house.
“He said ‘Put it on the market, we’re not going back,’” she said.
As the court proceedings wrapped up on Monday with Foley noticeably absent, Mason shook her head in disgust.
“He’s a coward for not coming out,” she said.