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Vermont State Police

Robin O’Neill was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the death of her former fiancé, Steven Lott, and Lott’s son, Jamis.


Townshend woman accused in fatal shooting of father and son

Estranged fiancée faces two charges of second-degree murder

TOWNSHEND—Robin O’Neill told the Vermont State Police she didn’t remember what happened next.

The next thing the 62-year-old remembered was that she either “picked up a gun or she had the gun in her hand,” wrote VSP Det. Sgt. Scott Dunlap in an affidavit.

Steven Lott, 60, and his son, Jamis, 28, “were on the floor lying in a lot of blood,” O’Neill told troopers after a fatal shooting on Nov. 18.

The two men were found dead by Vermont State Police in the elder Lott’s home on Abby Road, which is off Deer Valley Road near the Athens town line.

O’Neill was arraigned in Windham Superior Court in Brattleboro on Nov. 20 on two counts of second-degree murder.

She pleaded innocent to the charges and is being held without bail at the Southeast Vermont Correctional Facility in Springfield. O’Neill faces a possible penalty of a minimum 20 years to life imprisonment.

Relationship ended that morning

According to court documents, O’Neill and Steven Lott shared the Abby Road home. The couple, who had been engaged, had ended the year-long relationship that morning.

Jamis Lott was visiting his father that day and doing laundry.

Vermont State Police Criminal Division Commander Maj. Glenn Hall said in a news release that a woman, later identified as O’Neill, told troopers that two people had been shot inside the residence.

The two men were dead, O’Neill told troopers, and there would be no need to call 911.

O’Neill had called her friend and co-worker Stanley “Mike” Bills. She told him she’d shot the two men and asked him to come take care of her dog.

According to court documents, Bills didn’t believe O’Neill and later told investigators that he thought she sounded drunk.

After Bills called the state police, Hall said, troopers and a member of Rescue Inc. arrived at the elder Lott’s home at approximately 8:58 p.m.

There, troopers found the bodies of the two men in the kitchen, Hall said.

The bodies were later removed and transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington for autopsy.

In his statement, Trooper Travis Valcourt noted what appeared to be gunshot wounds on both men.

Steven Lott had wounds on his head, torso, and groin area, and Jamis Lott had a wound on his neck, according to court documents.

Valcourt detained O’Neill and put her in his cruiser.

Valcourt said he noticed O’Neill “appeared unsteady on her feet, had bloodshot glassy eyes, slurred speech and a moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage on her breath.”

O’Neill later told troopers she had been drinking wine.

Valcourt wrote in his report that O’Neill spoke freely while sitting in his cruiser. She also recited the Hail Mary and The Lord’s Prayer.

“I actually done this just the other night which I have pictures of, of the beating the holy crap of me,” said O’Neill, according to Valcourt.

Under questioning, O’Neill told troopers Steve Lott had become physical with her. Dunlap noted bruises on her arms.

People later interviewed by law enforcement, however, said they never saw Steve Lott become physical with O’Neill.

In Valcourt’s cruiser, O’Neill said, “You understand that the reason I shot the motherf—r, oops, wait a minute, I didn’t just say anything.”

O’Neill continued speaking to herself after troopers left her alone, wrote Valcourt.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry, holy f—, o’ this is good, y-yah, you can go to prison for the rest of your life, cause you killed the motherfucker, ah’ well he was a motherf—r (inaudible) he’s dead,” she said.

“He put you through amazing amounts of hell. Hell, hell, hell, and hell again,” said O’Neill sitting alone. “He made you, he tried terribly to make you [inaudible].”

“Ah, quite frankly, not exactly a killer, not exactly a killer, holy shit, wow, holy Mary mother of God [laughter], this couldn’t happen...” said O’Neill.

“Ah, no, no, this can’t be happening, this can’t be, this can’t be, can’t be anything I’be done, O for Christ sake, no you ah, but Jamis, Steven one thing, Jamis another, are you like, either way it’s like really f—ing crazy,” said O’Neill according to Valcourt’s report.

According to Dunlop’s affidavit, O’Neill said the gun she remembered in her hand was possibly the 9mm Steve Lott stored in his bedside table.

O’Neill said she owns a .380 semi-automatic handgun that she keeps for safety. This gun was stored in the center console of her car.

While executing a search warrant, law enforcement found three handguns at the house: a 9mm semi-automatic, a .25 caliber semi-automatic, and a .22 caliber revolver.

O’Neill told troopers she and Steven Lott had started dating in February. The couple became engaged in July.

But by September, their relationship “got weird,” she told police. She said that Lott started spending time with a female friend.

Law enforcement questioned the friend, who described her relationship with Steven Lott as “platonic. Nothing more.”

Troopers questioned a second woman, who stated that “O’Neill was crazy and she was jealous of about everyone.”

A man questioned during the initial investigation said that Steven Lott told him he thought during an argument that O’Neill tried to pull a gun on him.

Troopers also questioned his friend who visited the home earlier on Nov. 18.

The friend said that O’Neill tried to kiss him in front of Steven Lott.

The morning of the shooting, Steven Lott and O’Neill drove to where the couple worked at the Townshend Town Office.

According to O’Neill, Steven Lott broke their engagement that morning and told her that he wanted her out of his house.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #282 (Wednesday, November 26, 2014). This story appeared on page A1.

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