Snowplow driver, wife charged in Vt. teacher’s death

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ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont snowplow driver and his wife lured a beloved prep school teacher from her home by pretending their vehicle had broken down and then beat and strangled her before stripping her body naked and throwing it into the Connecticut River, court documents say.

The only motive suggested in the documents filed in the case against Allen Prue, 30, and his wife, Patricia Prue, 33, of Waterford, was that Mr. Prue told police he wanted to “get a girl” on Sunday night, although “they didn’t plan to get one forcefully.”

The Prues appeared in court Wednesday in St. Johnsbury, where they pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder in the death of Melissa Jenkins. They were ordered held without bail.

“They knew Miss Jenkins and had snowplowed her driveway a couple of years ago,” Vermont State Police Maj. Ed Ledo said at a news conference earlier in the day when he announced the arrests.

Following the court appearance, Mr. Prue’s mother, Donna Prue, said her son has never been in trouble with the law before and she has faith he didn’t commit the crime.

“I do not believe he would ever do this because he didn’t have it in him. I have nothing against her (Patricia); I don’t have nothing bad to say about either one,” Donna Prue said.

Police were called Sunday night after Ms. Jenkins‘ 2-year-old son was found alone in her idling car on a remote back road in St. Johnsbury.

Ms. Jenkins‘ former boyfriend told police she’d told him she had gotten a call from a person who used to plow her driveway and she was going to help them, the documents say.

The ex-boyfriend told police that Mr. Prue had once asked Ms. Jenkins out on a date, and she felt uncomfortable around him.

Mr. Prue later told police he and his wife were driving along the remote road when his wife called Ms. Jenkins and told her they had broken down.

When 33-year-old Ms. Jenkins arrived to help, Mr. Prue grabbed her and strangled her. The husband and wife then put the body in the backseat of their car and drove to their home. At some point Patricia Prue strangled Ms.  Jenkins as well, the documents said.

Back at their home, they put Ms.  Jenkins‘ body on a tarp, removed all her clothes and poured bleach on her body. The Prues also removed their clothes and put them on the tarp.

They then drove to a boat access at the Connecticut River, which separates Vermont from New Hampshire, and put Ms. Jenkins‘ body in the water, weighing it down with blocks and concealing it with brush.

They took the tarp and the clothes to New Hampshire, where they burned it.

The death of the well-loved science teacher at the school once attended by former President Calvin Coolidge shocked people in the town of 6,200 in northeastern Vermont about 40 miles south of the Canadian border.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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