Public Safety

Pennsylvania man to serve more than 12 years in 2020 Cambridge drug theft killing

Cambridge homicide
Vermont State Police investigate the scene of Michael Haines' death in Cambridge. File photo by Ellie French/VTDigger

A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to more than 12 years behind bars for his role in the March 2020 shooting death of a Cambridge man in a reported dispute over stolen illegal drugs.

Taylor Ruffin Herrington, 31, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had pleaded guilty to using a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime which caused the death of Michael Haines. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine.

In U.S. District Court Thursday, Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Herrington to 150 months behind bars. He was given credit for time he has already served since his arrest in March 2020.

According to court filings in the case, between the summer of 2018 and March 2020, Herrington was in the Chittenden County area selling heroin and crack cocaine. 

On March 3, 2020, prosecutors said, Herrington had a dispute with the victim because Haines had stolen Herrington’s heroin. 

“Angry about the theft, Herrington fired six shots at the front of Michael Haines’s house in Cambridge, Vermont,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Vermont said in a press release Thursday.

“One of the bullets fired by Herrington pierced the front of the house and struck Haines who was standing in the kitchen,” according to the release. “By the time the police arrived, Michael Haines had died of the gunshot wound.”

Prosecutors initially considered pursuing the death penalty in the case but decided against it. 

According to documents filed in the case by prosecutors, Herrington’s arrest on March 19, 2020, took place after Vermont State Police learned more details from a “source of information.”

Prosecutors wrote that Herrington told the source about the shooting, “including the fact that Herrington shot Haines in a dispute over 60-70 bundles of heroin.”

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Alan J. Keays

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