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: Police Continue Investigation Of Sheldon Shooting  ( 3412 )
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« : July 09, 2005, 06:52:01 AM »

The above photo of Kenny Jerome, taken around 1990 is courtesy of Mary Kay Raymond

Police investigate Sheldon shooting

Published: July 09. 2005 12:00AM

By Erica Jacobson
Free Press Staff Writer

SHELDON -- Police broadened their investigation Friday of Thursday's fatal shooting of 33-year-old Kenneth Jerome as many in this Franklin County farming community shook their heads over the loss of a good farmhand and friend.

Dozens of Vermont State Police interviewed neighbors of the Diamond Hill Custom Heifers farm where Jerome was shot before 1 p.m. Thursday while working near a cattle barn feeding trough. Troopers sat in idling cruisers and stopped friends and family who had come to visit the farm's owners, Terrance and Joanne Magnan, before letting them approach the couple's gray farmhouse. Plainclothes police in unmarked cars zipped by on the hilly road throughout the day.

Just after 3 p.m., another group of police assembled at a tan Cape Cod-style home just east of the Magnan's farm that belongs to Stephen Harrness. Police entered the home and searched its exterior. One trooper walked past a yellow Labrador retriever tied in the yard and entered the woods with his weapon drawn.

Vermont State Police Lt. Brian Miller would not say whether police had executed a search warrant at the property or any others in the area in connection with Jerome's killing.

"I'm not going to verify what we did there today," Miller said. "I'm not going to comment."

At an afternoon news conference, police said they had little to report. Police said they believed the shooting was not a random incident but declined to speculate on a motive or name a suspect in the crime.

"We don't have much to release at this point," Miller said of Jerome's death. "It's possible it's accidental, but it's not looking that it's going in that direction."

As police continued their work, Jerome's acquaintances and neighbors sighed with sadness over the unsolved slaying.

Some said they hardly knew Jerome but had never heard a bad word said about him. Others, like Deb Larson, struggled to balance happy memories of Jerome with an aching sense of loss.

"There was always a grin on his face," Larson said, sitting in the office of the automobile garage where she works. "And now he's not there.

"It's kind of strange."

Larson said she met Jerome more than a decade ago at BFA-Fairfax when she was a student teacher and Jerome was a seventh-grade student wrestling with math.

"He was an adorable kid," Larson said. "He was just happy-go-lucky."

Years later, after her divorce, Larson was looking for someone to take her to get a Christmas tree. Jerome volunteered and drove her to Waterville, Larson said, even though his religious beliefs hardly condoned the celebration.

"He sat in the truck because he was a Jehovah's Witness at the time," Larson said. "He didn't have any trouble with it."

In the past year or so, Larson had seen Jerome around the Sheldon Creek Market. He had looked forward to the birth of his daughter last year, Larson said, and she liked to joke that Jerome should just wait until he had a teenager on his hands. Now, Larson said, Jerome won't get the chance to see his child grow.

"It's really too bad," Larson said, "because I know he had finally found his place in life.

"He was going to be a pretty good dad."
Contact Erica Jacobson at 660-1843 or ejacobso@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com

Henry Raymond
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