NEWPORT CITY – Last Friday, Judge Howard VanBenthuysen handed down a 10-15 year sentence, all suspended, with the exception of six years to serve, to Deontae McNeil, 23, of Putnam, CT.
McNeil’s accomplice, Andrew Ladouceur, 26, of Derby, entered a guilty plea Oct. 20, 2011, to a charge of attempted burglary of an occupied dwelling. He is currently serving 4 -10 years with credit for time served. The state dismissed charges of aggravated assault, first degree unlawful restraint and attempted assault and robbery with a weapon.
Nov. 28, McNeil pleaded no contest to aggravated assault with a weapon. The state dismissed a charge of attempted second degree murder.
Oct. 14, 2010, Sgt. Darrin Annis of the Vermont State Police responded to a shooting in Charleston. On the way to the scene, Annis learned the victim had been shot several times outside her home and the suspects had fled in a truck.
At the scene, state police Sgt. Sean Selby told Annis that an ambulance had taken the victim, Donelle Morin, to North Country Hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds. Morin also sustained stab wounds.
Algi Dubauskas told police he was at his camp when he heard gunshots and someone yelling for help. He walked up a hill where he saw Morin screaming for help, that she had been robbed and to call the police. Morin had blood coming from her mouth and leg. Dubauskas told police that he saw a man on a path behind Morin’s house. The man exited the woods and got into a waiting truck. The man turned the truck around and stopped to pick up another man before continuing south.
Annis met with Morin at North Country Hospital. Morin said she had been in the shower when she heard her dog barking. She put on her robe and went to the front door where she saw two men approaching. The men indicated they were having motor vehicle problems. Morin said she discretely called the state police. Morin felt the men were “casing” her home. Morin denied one of the men’s requests to use the bathroom and took pictures of the men with her phone.
Morin was talked into offering the men a ride in her car to get help, but before they could leave the residence, McNeil pointed a revolver at Morin’s head. She said they wanted her to take them into her house. Morin became fearful for her life and tried to disarm McNeil. During the process, Morin believed she got shot once in the foot and once in the leg.
While the victim was fighting McNeil for the gun, Ladouceur pulled out a knife and stabbed Morin in the hands and arms. McNeil gained control of the gun and left the vehicle. Ladouceur got out, pulled Morin from the vehicle and looked for her cell phone.
Ladouceur and McNeil attempted to force Morin to the front steps of her home. When they heard an approaching car, the men loosened their grip and Morin was able to get away. Morin jumped into her car, locked the door and then realized she didn’t have the key. The men approached the vehicle and McNeil fired a shot into driver side front window. Morin feared the men would shoot her in the head and said, “Okay, okay, don’t shoot me.”
The men pulled Morin out of the car and they began to fight with her. During the struggle, Ladouceur either punched or stabbed Morin. As the men tried to bring her towards her home, Morin broke away. As she started to run, she got shot in the back of the arm. Morin crossed the road and stopped someone to help her.
Later that day, Jamie Chateauneuf and others went to the state police barracks in Derby to report that the men involved in the incident were Ladouceur and someone known as “D-Rock” who claims to be “Crip” from Connecticut. Ladouceur and McNeil picked up Chateauneuf near the Border Motel in Derby to give her a ride to Newport. Instead of going to Newport, they traveled to Route 5A and drove towards Westmore until they reached the Hudson Road and turned around. Ladouceur told Chateauneuf to get out of the truck and go into the woods. Chateauneuf started to question why when she saw that “D-Rock” had a revolver in his lap and had a look on his face that scared her. Chateauneuf got out of the truck and walked into the woods.
Chateauneuf told police she thought the men drove towards Charleston, but she could not see them. She then heard gunshots and a woman screaming. Chateauneuf exited the woods and saw “D-Rock” driving towards her. “D-Rock” stopped the truck and told Chateauneuf to get in. “D-Rock” still had the gun and had blood underneath the brim of his hat. They then picked up Ladouceur on the Hudson Road. On the way to Newport, the men spoke of the incident.
Ladouceur's father, whose name is not identified in court records, contacted Annis about the incident. During the conversation, Ladouceur's father said the male was probably McNeil. He also said the two might be hiding at the P & H Truck Stop in Wells River.
John Willey contacted the state police after hearing about the incident on the news. He said that Ladouceur had borrowed his truck. Police seized the truck.
In a photo lineup, Morin picked out Ladouceur and McNeil.