BENNINGTON >> A Park Street woman pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to helping a man rob Subway and Paulin's at gunpoint by acting as a driver and scout.
Lillian King, 29, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of aiding in the commission of assault and robbery with a deadly weapon, one felony count of obstructing justice, and misdemeanor counts of aiding a felon in the possession of a deadly weapon, two counts of false information to police, and possession of stolen property.
She was released without any bail under a number of conditions, among them that she not have any contact with Lawrence Elwell, 33, whom police have accused of robbing Paulin's gas station in North Bennington on Jan. 10, and Subway on North Street in Bennington on Jan. 8. King is also not allowed to leave the state without the court's permission.
Elwell told police he was in a dating relationship with King during these incidents.
Elwell was also implicated in the armed robbery of a Putnam Street home in December. He was tied to that robbery through statements made by Jessica A. Harrington, 33, of Shaftsbury, and Amanda J. Sausville, 34, of Bennington. Each have pleaded not guilty to aiding in the commission of assault and robbery with a deadly weapon, and burglary into an occupied dwelling while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon. Both have court dates scheduled this month.
Elwell is currently being held at the Rensselaer County jail in New York where he is serving out a sentence related to drug charges, according to Bennington Police. A police affidavit indicates he was cited for the January Subway and Paulin's robberies, however court records only indicate an arrest warrant for him was issued in February on charges of eluding police.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Amanda Thompson, Elwell told police that King purchased the Glock handgun he used in both robberies. She called Pailin's ahead of time to learn whether it was busy or not — Paulin's is a gas station and laundromat — and she drove him to the place so he could rob it.
For the Subway robbery, Elwell told King to come get him in New York and to bring the gun. During the five-hour drive, he said they discussed places to rob. He claimed to not be comfortable committing a robbery, but agreed after King said she would go in ahead of him to order a sandwich and determine how many people were working and if the place was busy. After robbing the Subway, he shared the proceeds, about $3,200 worth, with King.
He said they were together when they burned the clothes he wore during the robberies. He said King wanted to rob other places such as the Bank of Bennington Arlington and the Dollar General there.
During the investigation into these robberies, including the Putnam Street incident, police listened to conversations between Elwell, Harrington, and an inmate at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton. They appeared to be talking about robberies and mentioned Wallingford where an armed robbery occurred at the Cumberland Farms gas station prior to the Bennington Subway robbery.
During one of these conversation's Elwell mentions a "Glock" and "Marty's." This led police to learn that on Dec. 7, 2015, King bought a Glock firearm from Marty's Sporting Goods in Bennington for $425.
Police spoke to King on Feb. 17. She only told police about Elwell allegedly being involved with the Putnam Street and Wallingford robberies. She said her firearms are all pink and have not left her possession.
After learning that she had purchased a Glock at Marty's, police asked that she turn it over. She claimed to have let a friend borrow it, saying Elwell never would have had access to it. On Feb. 26 she brought police the gun.
Police later spoke to the friend she had lent it to. According to him, she sold it to him for $200. She also gave him some other items belonging to Elwell that he thought police might want. He also told police she claimed to have smuggled Elwell a Suboxone strip while he was in jail.
On April 13, police met with King again because Elwell had allegedly been threatening her. She said she had not been entirely truthful with police before, and admitted to giving Elwell rides, but did not know he had robbed Subway or Paulin's. She sounded surprised when told Elwell had admitted to those robberies.
She told police about letters she received from Elwell regarding robberies that contained threats against her, but said she had thrown most of those out.
King told police that Elwell had robbed a woman in Troy, N.Y. at gunpoint and taken from her a ring and a watch, which he then gave to her as a birthday present. Police said they confirmed that such a robbery occurred Dec. 22, the same night as the Putnam Street robbery in Bennington.
King turned the ring over to police and it was confirmed to be the same one stolen in New York. Police said they listened to recordings of King and Elwell talking about the ring and that King seemed pleased to have it. This contradicted how she behaved when discussing the matter with police in which she seemed to feel sorry for the woman who was robbed.
She also denied bringing Elwell anything while in prison; however, during recorded conversations the two can be heard discussing passing Suboxone strips using their mouths when they kiss.
King was arrested on April 28 and admitted to going into the Subway ahead of Elwell, but indicated she did not know at the time he intended to rob it. She claimed to have no involvement at all with the Paulin's robbery and said if her phone was used to call the place ahead of time it wasn't her that made the call.
Phone records police obtained do show her phone was used to call Paulin's shortly before the robbery.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115