Man Sentenced for Killing Stranger in Vermont Roadside Dispute

A Vermont man was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for shooting and killing a total stranger on Main Street in St. Albans in September of 2013.

Investigators said Matthew Webster of Swanton killed Anna Alger of Highgate during a roadside dispute that stemmed from Webster's bad driving.

"I'm sorry for the tears and broken hearts," Webster told the loved ones of Alger who attended Friday's sentencing hearing. "For the family, friends and coworkers who will never get to hear her laugh again."

Last year, a jury convicted Webster of second-degree murder and lesser charges related to the killing of the 31-year-old mother after police said he ran a red light and cut her off. When Alger confronted Webster, he exploded, shooting her seven times, investigators said.

Webster's defense asked for a compassionate sentence, saying he is deeply remorseful. They had explained the shooter had a handgun on him that day and was not in control, because he was contemplating suicide after a long history of mental health problems and drug abuse.

"We will never forgive you, Matthew, for what you put on us," said Alger's then-fiancé, Patrick Dalley, addressing Webster at the sentencing hearing. "We no longer have Anna. When Anna died, a piece of me did, too."

In sentencing Webster, Judge Alison Arms said he was solely responsible, directing his own rage and hopelessness that day at a truly innocent person.

Arms said tense disputes or angry gestures between drivers are not unusual following roadway infractions, but Alger did not provoke that level of violence, because she had "no idea what she was walking into."

"We weren't sure what was going to happen," the victim's step-mother, Ann Morris, told necn after the sentencing hearing. "We're very satisfied. We can finally put Anna to rest."

Webster can appeal the sentence.

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