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Possible plea deal in Chase murder trial

December 09, 2009
ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. — The case of a Littleton man who allegedly murdered his live-in girlfriend of Guildahall, Vt., in August 2008 has a resolution in sight. A St. Johnsbury judge decided that a plea hearing will commence this month at the Caledonia Court House.

Chris Chase, 28, initially pled not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder, which was later raised to first-degree murder in light of further evidence. He is accused of shooting Sara Bragdon, 23, at her Fellows Rd. home in Guildhall on the evening of August 22.

The decision was made to set the hearing at a Dec. 2 conference between the honorable judge Kathleen Manley, State Prosecutor Vince Illuzzi and defense attorney David Sleigh.

Judge Manley asked court clerk Angel Desilets to schedule a date for the hearing and also ordered a pre-sentence investigation to look further into Mr. Chase's background.

"The court anticipates a plea change," said Attorney Sleigh, "But there has been no agreement and nothing is definite at this point."

The date for the hearing will be within the next two weeks, according to Ms. Desilets.

Mr. Chase is still being held without bail as he was determined a flight risk. Mr. Chase fled after allegedly committing the murder and was apprehended in New York three days later.

According to police affidavits, Mr. Chase and Ms. Bragdon were smoking pot and drinking on the night of the murder and fell asleep watching television. During interrogations, Mr. Chase told police he had no knowledge of what transpired between the time he fell asleep and later awoke to Ms. Bragdon dead and her father's rifle on the floor.

Mr. Chase is alleged to have shot Ms. Bragdon in the head through a pillow as she slept on the couch and later committed an act of necrophilia on her body before leaving in the victim's vehicle with items he took from the house.

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