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November 09, 2010

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.

Pazos-9-c2 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


This guy Pazos is so f'ed. Game over.

Yeah, I'm a firm believer in "innocent until proven guilty", but there is a tremendous amount of DNA, physical and circumstantial evidence and motive shown in the police affidavit. The .pdf on his laptop of the knot tying tutorial pretty much throws any chance of his defense attorneys trying to get this pushed down to 2nd degree out the window. An insanity plea is impossible too (the fact that he used an offline browsing site to search for info on the case proves that he's a pretty bright and rational guy).

RIP Kathleen. Your too short shining life will be remembered by so many of us who would not be alive were it not for the work of countless courageous women like you who dedicate their lives to those who suffer from abuse and neglect -- particularly women.

And kudos to the BPD for finding this killer and for playing strictly by the book in their investigation. Thankfully, VT does not have a death penalty which means that the trial shall be short and efficient, and that this guy will end up locked up forever to ponder and live with what he has done.

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