Crime and Justice

Newbury man faces murder charge in daughter’s death

James Perry Jr., 70, of Newbury was taken into custody after a standoff May 4 in connection with a fatal shooting. State police photo

Updated at 5:45 p.m. with more details, including a court appearance.

A Newbury man is facing charges that he fatally shot his daughter before engaging in an overnight night standoff with police, according to authorities.

James Perry Jr., 70, was taken into custody Tuesday morning, police said. He later pleaded not guilty in Caledonia County Superior criminal court to a charge of second-degree murder in the death of his daughter, Karina Rheaume, 38, of Newbury.

Police say Rheaume had visited Perry to bring him food.

Perry also entered not guilty pleas to charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment for allegedly threatening to shoot another man. Judge Thomas Zonay ordered Perry held without bail while awaiting a further hearing in the case.

Michael Shane, a court-appointed attorney representing Perry at the arraignment, did not contest the hold-without-bail order requested by Orange County State’s Attorney Dickson Corbett, the prosecutor in the case. 

Police said Perry was taken into custody around 1 a.m. Tuesday after the Vermont State Police tactical unit and crisis negotiation unit had responded to his home on Deerfield Lane when he wouldn’t come out.

Police said they were called to the home for a report of a fatal shooting there.   

Earlier Monday, Rheaume had gone to the home to visit with her father and to bring him cookies, according to an affidavit in support of the charges filed by Detective Sgt. James Vooris.

When she hadn’t returned home after several hours, an acquaintance, Troy Brock, 50, went to Perry’s home, the affidavit stated. At the home, Brock encountered Perry at the house.

“Brock advised when he got to the residence, he was met by Perry Jr. holding a rifle at the front door, pointing it at him,” the affidavit stated. “Perry Jr. then told Brock that Rheaume was dead and if he took one step closer, he would be dead too.”

Brock told police he left, went to a neighbor’s home, and called 911 at about 7:10 p.m. Monday.

State troopers said they found Perry inside the home, and he refused to come out.

The tactical team and crisis negotiations unit went to Newbury and the standoff ended peacefully when Perry came out of the home at about 1 a.m. Tuesday and was taken into custody, Vooris wrote.  

Perry said he shot his daughter, according to the police affidavit, as she stood on a landing outside his residence. He told police he was concerned that unknown people were playing “gun games” with him and he asked his daughter not to come to his residence.

He told police he was concerned Rheaume was being used as a “ploy” by unknown individuals to enter his residence. 

“Throughout the conversation with Perry Jr.,” according to the affidavit, “he advised for the past couple weeks he has been paranoid and unable to sleep because of these unknown individuals that are playing ‘gun games.’”

Perry said he was sitting on his couch in his home when he saw his daughter, Rheaume, at the door. He said he stood up, picked up his 12-gauge shotgun, and took a position behind a pillar in the living room, according to the police affidavit. 

“Perry Jr. advised he could see Rheaume holding cookies, waving, and trying to open the locked door,” Vooris wrote. “Perry Jr. advised, ‘I’m just so nervous … and I didn’t want her to come in, and I didn’t want the cookies.’”

Perry said he ordered her to stop, according to the affidavit, then he said, “I’ve been stressed out for a couple weeks, and I just, I guess I, pulled the trigger. And then I pulled it more, and then I cut her neck.”

Perry said he believed he used a pocket knife to stab her, the affidavit stated. He told police that, sometime between 11 a.m. and noon Monday, he shot her multiple times, including in the head and chest. 

Police said they also interviewed James Perry III as part of the investigation, and he told them that he had spoken with his father over the phone and his father just yelled and threatened him.

“Perry III advised that his father’s mental health has been deteriorating and has had outbursts of anger issues in the past,” the affidavit stated. 

Shane, the court-appointed attorney representing Perry, could not be reached after Tuesday’s afternoon arraignment for comment.

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Alan J. Keays

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