Mom goes berserk after losing custody of daughter, shoots social worker, cousins, aunt

A Vermont mother has pleaded guilty to killing a social worker and three of her own relatives after she lost custody of her daughter.

According to ABC News, Jody Herring had been accused of shooting social worker Lara Sobel to death outside Sobel’s workplace on August 7, 2015. Earlier the same day, she shot and and killed her aunt Julie Falzarano, and her cousins Regina Herring and Rhonda Herring, reportedly finding them responsible for the custody issues she had been facing.

At the time of her arrest, Herring’s ex-boyfriend reportedly told police that Herring had kept a “hit list” that included the names of the relatives she killed.

According to CBS News, Herring tried repeatedly to purchase a gun but could not pass the background check. She then stole her ex-boyfriend’s gun to commit the murders.

As part of a plea agreement, Herring, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder, for Sobel’s death, and three counts of second-degree murder. She had initially been charged three counts of aggravated murder for the shooting death of her relatives, but the charges were downgraded as part of the agreement. There is now a chance Herring will not spend the rest of her life in prison.

“So we have an opportunity to argue for a sentence that would allow her to be released on parole at some point,” her attorney, David Sleigh, told ABC News.

Herring’s mental competency has been in question since her arrest, and she reportedly wrote in her plea agreement that she had experienced “significant mental health disease” in the past but was in better condition now.

Her daughter, who was nine years old at the time of the murders, was in the courtroom when her mother accepted the plea deal.

The court has not yet set a sentencing date.


Feature photo: Associated Press