BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont State Police have released details in the death of 22-year-old Emily Ferlazzo, whose husband reportedly told police that he shot her twice Saturday in Bolton, Vermont—in a small bus they had converted into a living and traveling space—before dismembering her body with a saw.
Even so, a defense attorney for Joseph Ferlazzo, 41, entered a plea of not guilty on first-degree murder charges on his behalf at a brief video arraignment Wednesday in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington. He appeared in court via video conference from the state prison in St. Albans and was ordered held without bail pending a hearing.
The Chittenden County State’s Attorney, Sarah George, said the evidence of guilt was substantial. Emily’s remains were found in the couple’s vehicle, a converted bus, in St. Albans on Tuesday. Investigators believe the two were visiting Vermont from New Hampshire on their first wedding anniversary. There was “a history of domestic violence within the relationship and Emily has been seen with scratches and bruises,” police said.
Juanita Schwarz, Emily’s grandmother, said she met Ferlazzo once. When she heard her granddaughter had gone missing, she feared the worst. “When I heard about it, I had that feeling. I know she is dead and they will never find her alive,” she told the Associated Press.
Schwarz described Emily as someone who grew up playing sports and had a love for music, always singing country songs. “She was a fun a person and caring,” she said. “She was just full of life.”
Police listed St. Albans as the home address for Ferlazzo, but an affidavit of probable cause filed in court Wednesday to support the murder charge said the Ferlazzos had been living in the bus on her parents’ property in Northfield, New Hampshire. Relatives told investigators the Ferlazzos traveled to Vermont on Friday.
Emily was reported missing by her family shortly after 7 p.m. Monday, kicking off the search. Police located Ferlazzo mid-afternoon Tuesday at a local convenience store, and he agreed to accompany them to the State Police barracks. Police say he admitted to killing his wife shortly afterward.
According to troopers, Ferlazzo had told his wife’s family that the couple were arguing as they drove on the Bolton Valley Access Road at about 1 p.m. Saturday. he originally told the family that she got out of the vehicle and that he drove off to a nearby store, but that when he returned to pick her up, he could not find her.
He told investigators that he and his wife had been arguing inside their camper and it turned into a physical altercation. A few minutes later, he retrieved a handgun and shot her twice in the head, according to the affidavit.
On Saturday morning, Joseph Ferlazzo said he took the camper from Bolton to a friend’s house in St. Albans, according to police. About 12 to 15 hours after the shooting, he dismembered Emily Ferlazzo and placed her remains in garbage bags, which stayed in the camper and were found by police.
The remains were sent to the office of the Vermont Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy. The autopsy on Wednesday ruled her death a homicide and confirmed she died of gunshot wounds, state police said. Police also located the weapons believed to have been used in the killing.
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