More than 300 Vermonters have died of drug overdoses in the past three years. But rarely has a dealer faced criminal charges as a result. A St. Johnsbury woman received a suspended sentence of two to five years for selling a fatal dose of heroin to a Groton man in 2014. Two years ago, a Burlington dealer allegedly sold heroin to his roommate, who took 24 hours to die on the premises. For that, he faced two years in prison.
But Trevor Shepard is looking at a much stiffer penalty — 20 years to life — for allegedly selling the heroin that killed Bennington resident Clark Salmon last month. State prosecutors have charged him with second-degree murder.
Defense attorneys across Vermont were shocked by the severity of the charge — none could recall a drug dealer here ever being convicted of murder. Stephen Saltonstall called it “over the top” and “a bad use of prosecutorial discretion.” The former Vermont defense attorney noted, “You could charge virtually every drug dealer with a crime like that.”