Friday March 29, 2013

BURLINGTON -- A federal judge has ruled that comments a Vermont man made that amounted to a confession in the killing of an elderly Sheffield woman can be used during his upcoming trial on separate charges.

Michael Norrie, 22, of Sheffield had asked that the statements he gave to federal law enforcement officers be suppressed because he claimed he did not understand his right to remain silent.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss ruled there was no evidence to support Norrie’s request, the Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/10cPnZj) reported Thursday.

Norrie made incriminating statements about the shooting death of 78-year-old Mary "Pat" O’Hagan during a January 2011 questioning and then stopped talking to investigators, authorities said.

"He was confessing to part of the murder, and shortly after, he decided he didn’t want to answer any more questions," said State Police Detective Sgt. Jason Letourneau said at a Nov. 7, 2012 hearing.

No one has been charged in the killing of O’Hagan, who was reported missing on Sept. 11, 2011. Her body was found by hunters three weeks later in a rural area in neighboring Wheelock.

Norrie has pleaded not guilty to charges that he was a convicted drug user in possession of a stolen gun in October 2009 and that he possessed and then sold or traded the gun. He is being held pending trial. No trial date has been set.