Pazos Charged with First Degree Murder in Smith Killing (Read the Police Affidavit)
Prosecutors today charged Jose Pazos with first degree murder in the October 18 killing of Burlington resident Kathleen Smith, and said a years-old grudge about a custody fight was his motive. The evidence that led police to suspect Pazos included rope used to tie Smith's hands, DNA found on a knife used in the crime and bootprints in the kitchen of her Park Street home.
Gruesome details of what prosecutors say was a pre-mediated murder pop from the pages of a police affidavit released today following Pazos' arraignment in Chittenden Superior Court. Pazos, a 45-year-old immigrant from Uruguay who lived in a homeless camp behind a Burlington gas station, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder (which carries a sentence of 35 years to life), kidnapping, burglary and aggravated vehicle operation without owner consent.
Download Pazos_affidavit to read the blow-by-blow of what led police to suspect Pazos [WARNING: This file contains graphic details of the investigation.]. In this video, Donovan and Burlington police spokeswoman Lt. Jennifer Morrison explain the state's case against Pazos.
Prosecutors allege Pazos (pictured) was motivated by a grudge he held against Smith, who was an acquaintance. Donovan said Pazos was in a custody fight years ago, and Smith took the side of the mother of Pazos' child. Donovan couldn't say what allegedly made Pazos act on the years-old grudge now.
Pazos is being held without bail pending his next hearing.
Photo by Emily McManamy