MILTON, Vt. - What started as a reported bear attack lead to a police investigation resulting in attempted murder charges for one Milton man.
28 year-old Lucas Gingras is charged with attempted murder after police say he hallucinated a bear attack while on drugs and convinced his girlfriend to jump off a cliff in order to escape the imaginary bear.
We had to hitch a ride to the top of Georgia Mountain in Milton to see the cabin and cliff where police say Lucas Gingras nearly to kill his girlfriend Ladonna Merriman.
“They were legitimately there, they were spending the night, they were just having a good time,” Detective Corporal Paul Locke said.
A good time that Detective Locke says included the drug molly, a form of ecstasy.
Police say around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday Gingras took molly and slipped it into Merriman's drink without her knowledge. They both began hallucinating.
“Gingras claims he was suffering from the hallucinogenic effects that caused him to see what he thought was a bear,” Locke said.
According to police Gingras told them he believed a bear was trying to enter the cabin and attack him and Merriman. So he made a plan to get away.
“He set the cabin on fire to make an escape from the cabin,” Locke said.
Detective Locke says Gingras knocked over a stove then made a run for it with Merriman to a nearby cliff. Locke says Merriman had her doubts that there was actually a bear but police say when Gingras told her to jump off the ledge to escape the bear, she did. She fell about 60 feet.
“The area where she did fall was a sheer cliff down and landed on a grassy rock. A lot of the variables that took place on the way down were trees branches stuff like that that slowed her,” Locke said.
Merriman broke her back, her ribs, punctured a lung and hurt her neck. Police say Merriman is now awaiting surgery.
FOX 44 asked police if Gingras might have intentionally been trying to cause harm to Merriman whether drugs were involved or not. Detective Locke said that information could not be released at the time.
Police also could not say whether the attempted murder charge stems from. Gingras is accused of providing Merriman with drugs without her knowing and convincing her to jump of a ledge.
Police say Gingras dragged her halfway down the mountain before leaving her and getting help from a friend. Police say when Gingras returned with someone the person went further up the mountain to get an SUV the two had left closer to the cabin. The friend left Gingras with a gun.
“When the friend was gone Gingras discharged the firearm into the backseat and trunk claiming the bear was now in the trunk,” Locke said.
Both Gingras and Merriman were taken to their condo on Boysenberry Dr. which is where police originally responded last Thursday.
Gingras is being charged with attempted murder, aggravated domestic assault, arson and reckless endangerment. He is being held at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility on $100,000 bail.
We visited the residence on Boysenberry Dr. to talk with friends and family of Gingras but they said they had no comment and told us to leave.
Last week FOX 44 looked into court documents regarding Gingras and Merriman. Gingras is currently being investigated by DCF for drug use in relation to an ongoing child custody case.
Merriman has numerous relief from abuse orders filed with Chittenden County Court. None of them involve Gingras.