JASPER COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Some Indiana sheriff's deputies landed a homicide arrest when they pulled over a Vermont man this week who admitted he was involved in a killing back in his home state.
Vermont State Police (VSP) Detective Sgt. Kelley Clark says just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, VSP got a call from the Jasper County Sheriff's Office about a Vermont resident who was pulled over for a traffic violation in Indiana.
Jasper County sheriff's deputies told VSP that 49-year-old Peter Lavalette of New Port Center, Vt., had been approached by officers in a Family Express parking lot off State Road 10 and US 231 in a parked Ford Focus station wagon.
The Jasper County Sheriff's Office says Lavalette told deputies he was lost, so they gave him directions and ran his plates. He then drove away.
However, deputies said after the vehicle left, they discovered its plates did not match Lavalette's name and they also noticed the car driving erratically on US 231.
When deputies pulled him over, Lavalette reportedly said the real owner of the Ford Focus was dead, and that he had in fact killed the owner. After being arrested, deputies said Lavalette continued to give information on the homicide, including the location of the victim.
VSP troopers headed to a residence on Fuller Road in Westfield, Vt., to verify Lavalette's claims. VSP says when troopers arrived, they found a dead man inside. An investigation was immediately launched.
The man's body was taken to the Vermont Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy, scheduled for Tuesday, which will determine the cause of death.
Lavalette was taken into custody and booked at the Jasper County jail on an operating while intoxicated charge. Vermont authorities say he will be extradited back to face a homicide charge.
Amanda Abbring lives just down the way from the Family Express. She's in disbelief a man who admitted to killing somebody was so close to her Monday night.
"It's amazing, I guess, that something like that could actually happen right here," said Abbring.
Knowing he is no longer in her neighborhood puts her at ease.
"It is comforting to know that they did catch somebody like that on whim, because it didn't look right," said Abbring.
The identity of the victim is being withheld until family members can be notified.
Anyone with any information in this case should call the Vermont State Police at 802-334-8881.
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