Vermont State Police say a woman shot a man who was living in her home before stashing his body into a trash bin in early December, citing rape and manipulation involving drugs as a motive.
Burlington Free Press reports that 31-year-old Erika Guttilla was arrested along with her mother, Carmen Guttilla; and boyfriend; Corey Cassani, 28, in connection with the shooting death of Troy Ford, 35, of Brooklyn, New York.
Ford was in a relationship with Erika at the time of his death, according to a Vermont State Police news release.
Ford’s remains were discovered in a wooded area of Highgate, Vermont, on May 5, according to a police news release, which stated the body was found by people walking their dogs. Ford is believed to have been dead for months.
According to Valley News, Ford was not listed as a missing person and his family indicated that it wasn’t abnormal for them to not hear from the man for a year or longer.
Cassani and Erika were arrested “following a motor vehicle stop in South Burlington” on May 8, after authorities searched several days for them, while Carmen was arrested May 6 without incident, the press release states.
Authorities said Guttilla and Ford lived together at the home of the woman’s parents.
According to an affidavit obtained by the Burlington Free Press, Erika told authorities her sister invited the man, who she referred to as Don, into their home in Highgate, approximately 41 miles from Burlington. The suspect claimed Ford manipulated the family by supplying them with drugs, and turned her father into a “trained dog.”
“She said she had installed a deadbolt on the inside of her bedroom door because she did not feel safe with Don in the house,” an affidavit stated.
Detectives reportedly said that Erika Guttilla alleged Ford had raped her in a bathroom of the home, and that he had regularly been drinking while in the home.
Police said Erika had discussed shooting Ford with her mother, 60-year-old Carmen Guttilla, and laid a gun on a dresser the night of the killing.
“Once Don went to sleep, (Erika Guttilla) paced throughout the house and went in and out of Don’s room about 15 times,” the affidavit stated. “She advised she finally just went into Don’s bedroom and shot him while he was sleeping face up in his bed. She said she held the gun right up next to his face when she pulled the trigger.”
“It was inevitable what was going to happen,” Erika told detectives, adding, “If I could bring him back to life and kill him again, I would.”
After shooting the man, Erika Guttilla said she, along with her mother, wrapped up the body in plastic before dumping it head first into a garbage bin.
Erika alleged that Cassani assisted her with loading Ford’s body into a van before transporting the corpse to an abandoned playground.
Erika was charged May 8 with first-degree murder and obstructing justice. She is being held without bail pending her May 9 arraignment.
Carmen pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. She is being held without bail.
Cassani pleaded not guilty to being an accessory to a crime after the fact, unauthorized removal of a body, along with obstructing justice. He is being held on $50,000 bail.
[Feature image: Erika Guttilla, Carmen Guttilla, and Corey Cassani/Vermont State Police]