ST. ALBANS, Vt. — A Vermont man who’d just argued with his wife over his extramarital affair went for a drive with a gun in his hand, intending to kill himself, but instead shot to death a stranger who came at him “like a six-point buck” in what police described as a road rage encounter in St. Albans.
Matthew Webster, 30, of Swanton, pleaded not guilty Thursday to the shooting death the day before of Anna Alger, 30, of Highgate. Webster was ordered held without bail.
Webster was driving home Wednesday afternoon after breaking up with the woman he’d been having an affair with, his wife told police. She had driven after him to ensure that he went through with the breakup.
Webster told police he had a gun in his hand as he was driving and intended to kill himself, but the gun did not fire.
On his way home, Webster allegedly ran a red light and was nearly struck by Alger’s car. His wife saw him running the light and called to tell him he had done so, court documents said.
After Webster got the call, he pulled over because he realized he was in no condition to drive. He got out of the car, he said, but didn’t realize he still had the gun in his hand.
Alger had followed him.
She got out of her car and was yelling as she approached Webster, according to court papers.
With his wife watching, Webster said, Alger charged “like a six-point buck coming over a hill,” St. Albans police Detective Benjamin Couture wrote in an affidavit.
Webster told police he then shot Alger because he thought that would stop her. But, he said, she kept coming and he emptied the clip. He then reloaded.
Investigators found 11 empty 9 mm shell cases on the roadway near where Alger was shot, the court documents said.
Webster told police that after he shot Alger he tried to shoot himself, but the gun did not fire.
Minutes after the shooting, Webster was arrested nearby.
During Webster’s brief arraignment, Deputy Franklin County State’s Attorney John Lavoie called the shooting “an act of extreme violence.”
“It was a random act. The defendant and Ms. Alger had no relationship whatsoever,” Lavoie said.
Alger’s family was in the courtroom during the arraignment. Several cried loudly while Lavoie described parts of the shooting. Afterward they declined to comment to reporters.
The charge against Webster carries a possible sentence of life in prison.