Krystal Whitcomb watched through a window at her Waterford home while Woodsville resident John Welch used two guns to shoot and kill her boyfriend Michael Pimental.
That’s according to Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Boscia at Whitcomb’s change of plea hearing held in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Tuesday.
Whitcomb, 28, pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin and possession of a firearm in the commission of a drug trafficking crime. She now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 10 years in prison and a possible maximum sentence of up to life in prison.
U.S. District Court
And while the full details of the plea agreement were not available by press time, a letter written to the court by Caledonia County State’s Attorney Jessica Zaleski suggests that Whitcomb may be involved in the prosecution of Welch, 34.
“As part of the plea agreement, Whitcomb will admit certain facts related to the charges and will agree that certain enhancements apply under the US sentencing guidelines and will acknowledge that at sentencing, the government may offer evidence about other matters alleged in the indictment including evidence related to the homicide of Michael Pimental,” wrote Zaleski in her letter.
Zaleski and her office have been working closely with police and federal prosecutors on the Pimental homicide since it occurred in October of 2018. Zaleski noted that since the plea agreement has been approved, her office will not be filing additional charges at the state level against Whitcomb in connection with the death of Pimental, 37.
“The State’s interests in this case were best served by working collaboratively with our federal partners for a productive resolution,” said Zaleski following the hearing. “This is yet another example of the unfortunate by-product of illegal drug trafficking in our community and I’m deeply grateful to our local and state law enforcement as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their hard work. My hope is that prosecutions like this one - whether federal or state - sends a strong message to those trafficking narcotics in Caledonia County that it simply will not be tolerated.”
Whitcomb, who remains in federal detention, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Christina Reiss on February 24, 2022, following a pre-sentencing investigation.
Whitcomb, Welch and Michael “Moe” Hayes, 38, of Washington, D.C., were indicted last year by a federal Grand Jury on multiple charges including carrying and discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime with death resulting.
But both Whitcomb and Hayes suddenly agreed last week to settle their charges through plea agreements while the charges against Welch remain pending. Hayes will appear in U.S. District Court for his change of plea on Friday.
Prosecutor Boscia told the court Tuesday that on Oct. 11, 2018, Whitcomb and Hayes traveled to the WalMart store in Littleton N.H. and purchased several items including two boxes of 9 mm “Luger” handgun ammunition. Two days later, Pimental was allegedly shot to death at his home located at 2394 Duck Pond Road in Waterford.
“In the early morning hours of October 13, 2018, Krystal Whitcomb was at her sister Alicia Whitcomb’s apartment on Back Center Road in Lyndon, Vermont,” said Boscia as he entered the factual basis for the charges into the court record.
“Michael Hayes, John Welch, Welch’s girlfriend, Brandon Darling and Alicia Whitcomb were also at the apartment,” said Boscia. “At, or around 3 a.m., Krystal Whitcomb drove with John Welch to Duck Pond Road where Krystal Whitcomb’s residence with Michael Pimental was located…John Welch shot Michael Pimental. Krystal Whitcomb watched through a window as Welch shot Pimental. Pimental was shot with two different firearms. One of those firearms utilized 9 millimeter Luger ammunition.”
Boscia said Krystal Whitcomb’s father, Shawn Whitcomb, was also at the scene that night on Duck Pond Road but he has so far not been charged in connection with the homicide.
Krystal Whitcomb and Hayes were later stopped on Oct. 14, 2018, by police in New Hampshire as they drove through Grafton County in a silver Cadillac registered to Pimental.
Police searched the car and say they recovered three firearms, 2,600 bags of heroin stamped “strong medicine,” ammunition and over $14,000 in cash. Investigators say Pimental’s blood was also found in the car.
On the same day, Pimental’s bullet-ridden body was found off Victory Road in the town of Concord. He had been shot multiple times in the head, torso and extremities. The state medical examiner ruled the death as a homicide.
State Police said Whitcomb has told them that she had suffered from “a long history of physical and emotional abuse” by Pimental.
The case has been investigated by the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.