An incarcerated Vermont man who claimed responsibility for a St. Johnsbury drive-by shooting last year told police he acted alone and used two different weapons to spray multiple rounds at a River Road residence.
Another man, Juan "Chino" Rodriguez, 46, of Cabot has already been charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting Rafael Rodriguez, 26, (no relation) during a July 15, 2014 drive-by shooting at 405 River Road in St. Johnsbury. The incident left Rafael Rodriguez injured with a gun-shot wound to the buttocks.
Several weeks after the shooting and after the arrest of Juan Rodriguez, Roya came forward and signed a written statement claiming he was the shooter and that Juan Rodriguez was not involved. Roya gave the statement to Juan Rodriguez's defense lawyer, Bill Cobb of St. Johnsbury.
Two different kinds of empty shell casings were found at the scene indicating two different weapons were used. But on Thursday, during a status conference on the case for Juan Rodriguez in Caledonia Superior Court, Cobb told the court that Roya claimed to police that he had fired both weapons.
"Mr. Roya said he had two guns and that he emptied one and then emptied the other," said Cobb. "That's what he told police."
While police consider Roya is a possible witness in the case prosecutors have not pursued charges against him as the shooter.
At Thursday's conference, Caledonia County Deputy State's Attorney Maria Byford told the court that the state's information on the case casts doubt on Roya's claims.
"The state has evidence which was inconsistent with some of the things Mr. Roya said," said Byford. "I don't know whether it's been determined he was in the vehicle."
Byford told the court she was working setting up a deposition of Roya.
Juan Rodriguez is being held for lack of $350,000 bail. His jury trial has not been scheduled.
Both men are being held at Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury.
St. Johnsbury Police said the shooting was the result of a dispute over a $300 debt and was preceded by insulting and threatening text messages exchanged by Juan Rodriguez and Rafael Rodriguez.
Rafael Rodriguez was treated at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital for his injury and released.