Massachusetts

Vermont woman and her mother sentenced in 2017 murder

ST. ALBANS, Vt. — A Vermont woman and her mother have been sentenced in the 2017 murder of a man who was living with the family in their Highgate home.

Erika Guttilla and her mother Carmen Guttilla were both sentenced on Friday to 10 years to life in prison with credit for the time already served since their 2018 arrest in the shooting death of Troy Ford of Brooklyn, New York.

They stashed the body in a garbage bin for weeks before the remains were moved to a wooded area.

Erika Guttilla pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Thursday and Carmen Guttilla pleaded guilty to accessory to murder.

Erika Guttilla told the court that Ford had taken over their home after trading drugs for a place to stay and terrorized the family. She said Ford had raped her and abused her mentally and physically.

She said she grabbed her mother’s gun and shot him while he was sleeping.

“I don’t think what I did defines who I am,” Guttilla said. Psychiatric experts had testified that both women had suffered trauma leading up to the shooting and Carmen said they felt at the time they had no other choice.

“I was a mess. I was losing my family. He’d taken everything away from us and I couldn’t get it back,” Carmen Guttilla said. “I don’t even know what kind of people we got to be anymore. We weren’t ourselves.”

Franklin County Deputy State’s Attorney John Lavoie argued that the women had other options besides murder and pushed for the maximum sentence, the news station reported.

Ford’s sister, Raquel, questioned why the mother and daughter didn’t call the police if what they said was true.

“Why did you have to take his life? Now, he’s gone,” she said. “Even after this sentencing hearing, you’ll still be able to breathe. You’ll still be able to wake up, write letters, communicate with your family and friends. I can never see my brother again.”

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