- On August 7, 2015, Jody Herring shot and killed her two cousins, her aunt, and a state social worker she blamed for losing custody of her daughter
- Some social media groups have tried to twist Herring’s murders into a story of a vigilante attacking a corrupt system
- Herring lost custody of three other children prior to the murders and had a history of drug addictions, abusive relationships and other issues
- Throughout her life Herring suffered multiple traumatic incidents that she never properly treated
- In May, her appeal against her life sentence without parole was rejected by the Vermont Supreme Court
On August 7, 2015, Jody Herring shot and killed three of her family members and a social worker claiming her 9-year-old daughter was wrongfully removed from her custody by the Vermont Department for Children & Families. To some within social media groups against Child Protective Services around the country, Herring has somehow become a vigilante type hero whose crimes are understandable.
The family rights and or anti-CPS movement — depending on who you speak with — is in complete shambles and has been for some time. A lack of accountability mixed with a blind belief of power in numbers has allowed scam artists, sovereign citizens, sex offenders, and self-taught legal advocates to become the voice against an extremely broken system in desperate need of an overhaul. When you take into account the vast amount of bad information being spread throughout different CPS groups on social media, it comes with little surprise that stories such as Herring’s are twisted to make her sound like a victim.
The facts of the situation are that Herring had many issues stemming from traumatic incidents throughout her childhood that were never properly handled. Instead, these issues mixed with violent relationships and heavy drug usage finally manifested into their final form when she murdered her two cousins Regina and Rhonda Herring, her aunt Julie Falzarano and her state social worker Lara Sobel.
Twisting The Narrative
Those who try to push the narrative of Herring being a victim often only mention she killed a social worker and do not mention the three family members she murdered. They also leave out the three children she lost custody of before her 9-year-old daughter. They do not mention her 9-year-old was placed in her biological father’s custody, not state custody. They also do not mention the drug addiction, the abusive relationships, or the delusions that her oldest daughter was following her with her old partner. If anything, Herring was a victim of the lack of care for mental health in America and her children were victims of her mental illness.
CPS News Network And The Jodi Herring Foundation
Despite the details of Herring’s case being readily available to the public, some organizations are either not aware of the documents or have chosen to turn a blind eye to them. On March 5, a Facebook page was created called the “Jodi Herring Foundation.” According to the page’s about section, the foundation “seeks to raise money for Jodi and others in need of support. The foundation seeks to raise awareness of CPS child kidnappings.” The page has a link to the Jodi Herring PayPal for people to make donations, which I strongly advise against since there appears to be nothing to guarantee where your money is going. It is not clear who made the page, but it is doubtful that it was made by someone that knows Herring personally seeing they did not even spell her first name correctly.
The page is likely run by the same people who run the “CPS News Network” Facebook page, an alleged media outlet that specifically twists situations to push an anti-CPS narrative. In a post from the CPS News Network page on December 22, 2018, Herring’s name is incorrectly spelled as “Jodi” and the caption is typed in all caps, just as seen in the about section on the Jodi Herring Foundation page. Luckily the foundation page appears to be a flop, as it currently has 17 followers after five months.
Articles By GERI Pfeiffer
A post that got a bit more attention from the “Articles by GERI Pfeiffer” Facebook page read, “While she did end four lives….in a violent manner….I don’t think she was out of control.” The post received over 400 comments and over 500 shares. The post was also shared as an article through the America’s Taken website, which claims to help families dealing with CPS. A mission statement on the site reads “Our mission is giving children #TAKENbyCPS and their biological families a forum to search for each other.” Pfeiffer’s take on the Herring murders reads more like a personal grudge against CPS. While she goes into detail on how she claims the system failed her, she fails to list any factual information that could possibly begin to justify Herring’s heinous actions.
The Facts Of The Jody Herring Murders
The facts of the Herring murders tells a much different story than those who try to twist it to fit a narrative. According to court records, on the morning of August 7, 2015, Herring called the home of her cousins and aunt. Rhonda answered the phone and Herring told her “they better stop calling” DCF or they would be “fucking sorry.” Herring also tried to call her brother Dwayne Herring several times. She left two messages. In one message she said, “If you think anything of your sister, you’ll get a hold of me now.” In the second message, she said, “Watch the news—you’ll wish you got a hold of me earlier.”
Hours before the murders, Herring left a message on Rhonda’s answering machine. Tiffany Herring, Rhonda’s daughter, heard the message and claimed Herring was screaming something along the lines of “Rhonda, Regina, you might want to stop fucking calling DCF or I’m going to come and shoot your brains out.” After hearing the message, Tiffany left the house to see a friend. When Tiffany came home she first found her mother and grandmother dead on the first floor of the house. When police arrived they found her aunt dead in the upstairs of the house. All three women died from gunshot wounds.
After killing three members of her family, Herring drove to the building where the DCF office was located and waited for Sobel. Witnesses said Herring sat in her car screaming. Once she saw Sobel, Herring exited her vehicle holding the rifle and yelled, “You know what you did.” Herring then raised the rifle and shot Sobel.
They Got What They Deserved
Once Sobel fell to the ground, Herring shot her again. A witness then said Herring began “jumping around the parking lot swinging the rifle around,” saying, “They didn’t listen to me. It was my 9-year-old daughter. They got what they deserved.” Herring then laid the gun down and a bystander removed the ammunition. Another bystander grabbed Herring’s arm at which point it was said she calmly waited for police officers to arrive. Police officers then handcuffed Herring and placed her in a patrol car.
After Herring was in custody, a police officer reported she was “calm and laughing.” When officers questioned Herring, she said, “They fucking deserved it.” Dr. Renee Sorrentino, a forensic psychiatrist diagnosed Herring with a severe anxiety disorder. Sorrentino explained the anxiety disorder “fueled her general suspicion of others in the months preceding the incident offended.” When Sorrentino first assessed Herring in 2015 she initially believed she was experiencing “symptoms of suspiciousness and persecution [that] rose to the level of paranoid ideation and delusions.” Sorrentino later decided her delusions were related to her anxiety disorder which led to suspicions, such as believing her oldest daughter and ex-partner were following her.
A History Of Trauma
Herring did not have a happy childhood by any means. During her three-day sentencing which resulted in Herring being sentenced to life in prison, evidence of trauma throughout her upbringing was presented to show the development of her mental condition. Her trauma appears to have begun when her father died while she was a child. Herring, along with other members of her family believe he was murdered and became upset after his death was declared a suicide.
Dwayne testified that at the age of ten or eleven their mother kicked the two out on the streets. One aunt claimed Herring was 14, and another claimed 11 or 12. Regardless, all parties testified that Herring was put on the streets at an extremely young age. Dwayne and Herring lived together in abandoned cars and with their grandparents. At the age of 17, Herring was raped and became pregnant with her first child.
As an adult Herring struggled with drug addictions, arrests, and abusive relationships. She lost custody of her first three children. Her parental rights were terminated due to heavy substance abuse in at least one of the cases. In 2014, Herring found herself homeless and unemployed with her youngest daughter. In late 2014, her daughter’s school counselor — who was aware the two were homeless — had been trying to connect Herring with resources to assist them. The counselor became concerned when Herring “was becoming a little less coherent and hard to follow.”
In January 2015, the school principal contacted DCF because Herring seemed increasingly anxious and “would go off-topic when speaking.” The principal called DCF due to concerns that Herring may pose a risk of harm to the child. When Herring found out the principal had contacted DCF she became extremely angry. The principal explained she was trying to get resources for Herring and her daughter but she told her she did not want any help. Before long, DCF took Herring’s daughter and placed her in her biological father’s custody.
Dwayne testified that after Herring lost custody of her fourth child she really started “losing it.” “It messed her up,” Dwayne said. Herring’s boyfriend at the time, Henry Premont, testified that she wanted to shoot people in the head and watch the “brain matter splatter.” Herring said, “People are going to pay, there’s going to be an Armageddon.” Premont believes some of those comments could have been directed at DCF. Herring also showed Premont her handwritten “hit list” which included Regina and Rhonda. He also stated Herring had tried to buy firearms from two different gun stores, but both times she was denied after the stores ran a background check and saw her criminal history.
In May of 2015, Herring was involuntarily hospitalized after she overdosed on pills. According to her cousin, Herring called her and told her to tell her daughter “why she doesn’t have a mother anymore.” The cousin called 911, and first responders forced their way into Herring’s home. Herring was found in her bed surrounded by empty pill bottles and pictures of her children. After being involuntarily hospitalized, Herring was combative and refused treatment. She slowly became more accepting of the treatment but was constantly asking to be released. At the end of May, she was released.
In later July or early August of 2015, Premont told Dwayne he had purchased a handgun he was going to give to Herring. Dwayne told Premont not to give Herring a gun and said he was a “damned fool” for even considering the thought. The rifle Herring used to kill her victims belonged to Premont but was allegedly taken without his knowledge or permission.
Herring’s Trauma Was Not An Excuse For Her Murders
Dr. Thomas Powell, a forensic psychologist who conducted a forensic assessment of Herring testified at her sentencing. Powell said the effects of the trauma Herring described experiencing are “serious and can last for decades.” However, Powell added that “I would never say the trauma causes something like” the four murders Herring committed. Powell claimed Herring’s therapy would be long-term due to her trust issues with people. When asked to define long-term, Powell responded, “we’ll be measuring this in years, not in months.”
Herring was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The Vermont Supreme Court rejected her automatic appeal in May. Herring’s lawyers argued in the appeal that the judge in the case did not act appropriately when he sentenced her to life in prison. Her lawyers claimed Herring was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole but never said she could not be rehabilitated. Due to that, they said Herring should be able to have treatment and prove she can re-enter society. In the ruling in May, the justices said they found no errors in the judge’s decision.
While the court’s finding that defendant would continue to pose a risk appears to have played some role in its decision to sentence her to life without parole, the court made clear that it was imposing this sentence because of the devastating crime the defendant committed and the toll it took on so many people.Herring Appeal Ruling Via WCAX3
So while the story that Herring was the victim of a corrupt system that targeted her at random to take her daughter sounds great to push a narrative, in reality it delivers a huge injustice to the reality of the situation. Herring was a woman who was plagued by traumatic incidents throughout her life and never received the proper treatments to deal with them accordingly. Instead, Herring entered abusive relationships, turned to substances, and refused any actual help which led to her going on a brutal murdering spree that impacted the lives of many. Murdering three family members and a social worker shows there was a justified reason for others to be concerned about her children’s well-being. Instead of Herring being a vigilante hero representing the innocent, she is the terrifying reality of people unable to accept any responsibility for their actions. Not only is the idea of Herring’s actions being justified truly disturbing, it is a huge insult to the victims’ families that now must live with the trauma Herring induced into their lives.
In the video below you can watch all the victim impact statements from Herring’s sentencing.