Vermont couple suspected in Highgate murder appear in court

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A shackled Erika Guttilla entered a Franklin County courtroom Tuesday. The 31 year-old is accused of killing Troy Ford in November and hiding his body in a trash bin for several months. Guttilla and Ford were dating at the time.

Guttilla exercised her 24-hour right Tuesday and did not enter a plea, which means she will be back in court Wednesday. Guttilla did plead guilty to unrelated charges and is being held without bail.

Court paperwork shows Guttilla told police that Ford was abusive and had  been living at her family’s home in Highgate. According to the documents, Guttilla said the living situation became ‘unbearable’ and that she wanted to hurt Ford.

Police say dogwalkers found human remains Saturday in a wooded area off Darlene Road. Authorities later linked the remains to Ford by matching a tattoo on his arm.

Guttilla’s current boyfriend, Corey Cassani was also in court Tuesday. The 28 year-old is accussed of helping dispose Ford’s body. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday and in being held on $50,000 bail.

The pair were nabbed by police early Tuesday morning during a motor vehicle stop in South Burlington.  Vermont State Police issed an officer-safety bulletin to all Vermont law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for several vehicles linked to the couple. Police say their car was traced to a motel in South Burlington where a stakeout was initiated.

Guttilla’s mother, Carmen is also believed to be involved in Ford’s murder. Court documents show Guttilla used her mother’s gun to kill Ford. Carmen pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges Monday and is currently being held without bail.

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