4 Plead Not Guilty in Homeless Camp Fatal Beating

Police say Amos Beede was beaten May 22 as part of a dispute between two Burlington homeless encampments

Four people returned to Vermont to face murder charges connected to the beating death of a man at a Burlington homeless encampment are being held without bail. 

Twenty-one-year-old Erik Averill, Jordan Paul and Myia Barber, both 22, and 25-year-old Allison Gee pleaded not guilty Monday during their arraignments on second-degree murder charges in the death of Amos Beede. 

Police say the 38-year-old Beede was beaten May 22 at a Burlington homeless encampment as part of a dispute between two adjacent encampments. He died six days later. 

The four suspects arraigned Monday were arrested last month in California. A fifth suspect, 29-year-old Amber Dennis, apprehended in Vermont last month, has pleaded not guilty.

They are all being held without bail.

Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan said he did not anticipate any other charges in the case, but the investigation is ongoing.

"Obviously this was a horrific act of violence, and the case is a priority for us, so we will continue to investigate the case and look at anybody who may have any culpability," he said.

Defense attorney David Sleigh, who represents Barber, says having five suspects who could be called as witnesses in other cases could create challenges. 

"Each defendant has a Fifth Amendment right not to testify, and each defendant has a right to call witnesses on their behalf," Sleigh told the Burlington Free Press. "Those two rights can and often do conflict, and the rules of evidence in these situations can be complex."

The other defense attorneys didn't comment.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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