• Two dead in Rupert murder-suicide
    PATRICK McARDLE Herald Staff | November 03,2007
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    Police say Benjamin C. Ploski, 32, shot and killed Felicia E. Armstrong, 29, at the couple’s home on Watrous Road in Rupert. He later killed himself.
    RUPERT — Police are investigating what they believe was a murder-suicide involving a local couple, whose bodies were discovered by the woman's 5-year-old daughter.

    Police believe Benjamin C. Ploski, 32, shot and killed Felicia E. Armstrong, 29, at the home the couple had shared for the past three months on Watrous Road in Rupert before killing himself sometime in the late evening on Wednesday.

    According to a Vermont State Police press release, 911 dispatchers in Washington County, N.Y., received a call around noon Thursday from the girl. She told them her mother and her mother's boyfriend were dead in the family's house.

    The dispatchers traced the call to a home in Vermont and contacted the State Police at the Shaftsbury barracks.

    The girl had walked to a neighbor's house and called 911, according to police.

    The girl told police Ploski and Armstrong argued Wednesday before she went to bed.

    When she woke up the next day, the girl found her mother and Ploski dead.

    Police said Armstrong was partially outside and Ploski was inside the home. A small-caliber rifle was found next to Ploski's body.

    Armstrong and Ploski both appeared to have died from gunshot wounds and police believe Ploski's was self-inflicted.

    Police said they are not looking for any suspects in their investigation of what appears to be a case of domestic violence.

    Ploski has a history of domestic violence in Bennington County. He was charged with aggravated domestic assault in August 1998 and pleaded guilty to the charge two months later. He was sentenced to serve 21 months to five years in jail.

    In July 1997, he was charged with misdemeanor counts of domestic assault and reckless endangerment. The judge accepted a plea of no contest to the domestic assault charge and a guilty plea to the reckless endangerment charge in November of that year.

    Ploski's sentence of six to 12 months was all suspended and he was placed on probation. He was charged with four counts of violating his probation and in October 1998 it was revoked.

    More recently, Ploski pleaded guilty to two felony counts of counterfeiting paper money in August 2004. He was sentenced to serve six months to five years. Ploski was released from prison on furlough in October 2005 and paroled on Nov. 8, 2005.

    Winfield "Winker" Gates, the grandfather of the girl who reported the deaths, said Friday that Armstrong should be remembered as a good mother.

    The home where Ploski and Armstrong lived was on a remote, single-lane dirt road in one of Bennington County's more rural towns.

    The deaths were investigated by the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Vermont State Police Crime Scene Search Team.

    Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage authorized release of the bodies and ordered autopsies to be conducted, according to police. Marthage said Friday morning she didn't anticipate further action taken by her office.

    Police have asked that anyone with any information regarding the deaths contact state police Detective Lt. Tim Oliver at the Rutland barracks at 773-9101 or the state police Shaftsbury barracks at 442-5421.

    Contact Patrick McArdle at patrick.mcardle@rutlandherald.com.
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