Putney woman held without bail in hammer attack

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Photo Gallery | Arraignment of Fiona Gordon-McLeod

PUTNEY — According to court documents, two Putney women made a suicide pact but when one of them questioned their plan, the other attacked her with a hammer.

At arraignment on Dec. 21 in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division, Judge Katherine Hayes said Fiona Gordon-Macleod, 69, should be held without bail on charges of attempted first degree murder and aggravated domestic assault with a weapon. In her decision, Hayes noted there were questions about Gordon-McLeod's mental and physical health, as well as her legal status in the United States.

On Dec. 18 at just past 9 a.m., Vermont State Police Dispatch in Rockingham received a 911 call from Gordon-Macleod. According to the affidavit, during the 911 call, Gordon-Macleod said, "I believe I just killed someone."

Troopers from the Brattleboro Barracks responded and while on scene, they noticed that the victim, 76, appeared to have multiple severe head injuries and was bleeding profusely. Gordon-Macleod was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Brattleboro Barracks for processing. The Putney Fire Department and Rescue Inc. responded to the scene and the victim was transported to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

According to the affidavit, over the course of several years, the health of both the accused and the victim had been declining, which led to a poor quality of life. "Through several conversations, both Gordon-Macleod and (the victim) had expressed a wish to be in control of their life and wanted to end their lives together when they were ready," stated the court document. According to the affidavit, there were several conversations between the two regarding this matter, but no plans had been set to carry out the suicide.

On Dec. 17, the conversation between the two took a different turn when the victim discussed a new medical option, a pacemaker that could potentially improve her quality of life. Gordon-Macleod became depressed and felt dejected throughout the day after her roommate questioned their suicide plan. According to the affidavit, Gordon-Macleod could not sleep that evening.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on Dec 18, according to the affidavit, Gordon-Macleod grabbed a hammer from a toolbox before entering the victim's room and then sat on her roommate's bed where they discussed the plans for their day. Meanwhile, stated the affidavit, Gordon-Macleod placed the hammer out of sight on the floor so her roommate would not see it. As the two spoke that morning, Gordon-Macleod became concerned that her roommate would not end her life as they had previously discussed. She then decided that she would kill her and then commit suicide to carry out their initial plan.

As stated in the affidavit, "At this time Gordon-Macleod stood up, picked up the hammer and struck (the victim) in the head with it. (The victim) screamed for help as Gordon-Macleod continued to strike her at least a dozen times in the head and upper body." The roommate tried to defend herself and grabbed the hammer to prevent Gordon-Macleod from striking her. Gordon-Macleod stated that she could not recall whether she had been pushed out of the bedroom by her roommate or whether she left on her on will.

The affidavit then stated, "She advised she attempted to kill (the roommate), however if she was unsuccessful, she did not want (the roommate) to suffer." This led Gordon-Macleod to call 911 immediately after she left the victim's bedroom.

Vermont State troopers arrived at the scene and confiscated the hammer, stained with what appeared to be blood smears on the handle. The hammer was logged into evidence.

Judge Hayes was contacted shortly after Gordon-Macleod's arrest. Hayes ordered her held on $50,000 bail and also set conditions of release, but following arraignment Monday afternoon, Hayes ordered Gordon-Macleod without bail.

If found guilty of first degree murder she could be sentenced for a minimum term of not less than 35 years and a maximum term of life, or imprisonment without possibility of parole. If she is found guilty of aggravated domestic assault, first degree with weapon, she could be jailed for not more than 15 years or a fine not more than $25,000 or both.

Gordon-Macleod has lived in the area for approximately 38 years and has no prior convictions. Attorney Christopher Montgomery will be assigned to this case.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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