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Jody Herring sentenced to life without parole for killing social worker, three relatives

BARRE, Vt. - A Vermont judge has sentenced Jody Herring to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing three of her relatives and a social worker.  

Moments before the sentencing was handed down, Herring addressed the courtroom claiming it all could have been prevented had she been given the help she sought.

"I can't take back that day, I wish I could but I can't... I handle my stress differently than anybody else does."

Herring killed Department for Children and Families social worker Lara Sobel, 48, of East Montpelier, on August 7, 2015. Herring also killed three relatives, Regina Herring, 43, Rhonda Herring, 48, and Julie Ann Falzarano, 73, who were found dead in a nearby Berlin home the day after Sobel was killed. Court records show Herring blamed Sobel for taking away her daughter.

Herring, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder, and three counts of second-degree murder. Herring had originally pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree murder, and three counts of aggravated murder.

Family and friends of the victims spoke Wednesday.

"No sleep, nightmares, crying and outbursts on my loved ones... I don't know I'll ever forgive Jody for what she has done to me and my family," said Randy Herring, Regina and Rhonda's brother.

Sobel's sister Lauren Sobel Shapiro said, "We all know that these birthdays, holidays and anniversaries return each year and with them... The empty reminder of everything we no longer have."

On the first-degree murder charge, Herring was sentenced to life without parole. For each second-degree murder charge, she was sentenced to 20 years to life, to be served concurrently.

Sobel's Husband Tim Faryniarz says one of their daughters spoke with her mom on the phone as the shots rang out.

Faryniarz said, "Having spoken the last words to her mother, her answer was the noise of Mommy being shot down not once but twice."

Herring's sentencing hearing began Monday at Vermont Superior Court in Barre. It was expected to last five-days.

The defense argued Herring suffered a traumatic life of abuse and severe anxiety which was not addressed adequately by those she reached out to.

Herring said, "I asked for help several times and I didn't get it."

Prosecutors called the murders methodical, both families called on the court to send a message in it's sentence.

"For me these 27 months have been long and the journey so difficult and will remain difficult for the remainder of my life... This is my life sentence," said Alex Sobel, Lara's father.

Before sentencing Herring, the judge called it one of the toughest cases to enter his court and shared compassion for Herring and the struggles she's faced.

 

 


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