A Vermont man was high on molly when he allegedly kicked his girlfriend off a 70-foot cliff and burned down their cabin, police said.
Prosecutors say 28-year-old Lucas Gingras also made up “an incredible, fantastic story” about a bear attack in order to cover up the attempted murder of his girlfriend, Ladonna Merriman.
Merriman, 44, fell 70 feet and was hospitalized with a broken back and a punctured lung.
Investigators say Gingras kicked her off a cliff during a drug-fueled rampage and then dragged her injured body almost a mile through the woods, where police found them.
Gingras allegedly blamed her injuries on a bear attack.
He was charged with attempted first-degree murder.
"I think this was one of the craziest stories I've ever heard," T.J. Donovan, Chittenden County state's attorney, told WCAX.
Forrest Hammond, leader of the black bear program at the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, said bear attacks are exceptionally rare.
“We simply do not have bears attacking people, trying to kill people at all,” he said. “We only know of one historical mortality on a person from a bear, and that was in 1943.”
Police say Gingras took MDMA and also slipped one into Merriman’s drink without her knowing it while they were staying at a remote hunting cabin in Milton. The couple tested positive for MDMA, opiates and marijuana.
Gingras told police that he heard a bear the night of the incident and decided to burn down their cabin to protect themselves. He said he convinced Merriman to jump over a cliff to escape. Severely injured, he allegedly dragged her through the woods for nearly a mile when he came upon a vehicle. He then fired a rifle in an attempt to keep up his bear story, police said.
"The theory of the case is essentially, since she was still alive he had to continue with this ruse, took the rifle, fired the gun into the trunk of the car, burned down the cabin, all in his mind in order to further elaborate this tale of being chased by a bear," said Donovan.
Gingras, a felon, was convicted of armed robbery in Florida and is not allowed to possess a firearm.
Police believe he may have attacked Merriman because she tried to leave him days earlier.
"It should be noted she attempted to leave him just a few days ago, and as a result of that we think is the motive for this tale, but really his intent to severely harm this young woman," said Donovan.
Gingras pleaded not guilty Wednesday to attempted murder charges.