Video: Mother’s murder stuns community

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    >> al, thank you.

    >>> and now to a horrific crime that has stunned a quiet new hampshire town. nbc's ron allen is in mt. vernon , new hampshire , with the details. ron, good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning to you, meredith . this was an especially heinous crime, a mother murdered, a daughter critically wounded, attacked while they slept, police say, by four local teenagers armed with a machete, a knife and other deadly weapons. prosecutors believe the young men had made a pact to rob and kill and chose their victim at random.

    >> the days that are coming will be brighter than the days that have just passed.

    >> i have a daughter the same age. completely horrified.

    >> reporter: mt. vernon is a tiny new hampshire hamlet, about 2,000 residents. there were not enough candles to go around when so many joined a vigil.

    >> it just doesn't make any sense.

    >> reporter: there for kimberly lynn cates, 42, a nurse and mother, brutally killed in the attack and her daughter jaime , an 11-year-old sixth grader, who after extensive surgery is expected to survive.

    >> i just want to believe. she's my best friend .

    >> reporter: prosecutors say the four teens -- two of them reportedly former boy scouts -- invaded the cates' home around 4:00 a.m . sunday morning because it was down a lonely, quiet road. steven spader, 17, the alleged ringleader, a high school dropout whose family lives in an upscale area, is charged with attacking with a machete, while christopher gribble, 19, a handyman studying to be a mormon missionary , allegedly stabbed with a knife. both are charged with murder. prosecutors say cates died of wounds to her head, torso, arms and legs. daughter jaime remains in intensive care, her throat cut, a leg broken. there are reports she managed to call 911 after the attack for help. two others, quinn glover, 17, and william marks , 18, both high school students, face robbery and burglary charges. none of the defendants has yet entered a plea. james marks says he saw his son william before he left home, hours before the brutal killing. spader also was there, he says, showing off a knife.

    >> it had a bright-colored handle on it. it looked almost toyish, but it was a knife.

    >> reporter: it's unclear if that weapon was used in the attack. marks believes his son only wanted to rob the house.

    >> i know my son and i know people are going to say i don't know my son, but i don't think he went there to kill.

    >> reporter: meanwhile, grief and shock consume a small town where hardly anyone is a stranger. the defendants are well known.

    >> it was a huge shock going through the pages of a yearbook and finding at least two of them in there.

    >> reporter: and many know the cates family as well, especially at the hospital where kim cates was a nurse.

    >> i don't think you'd find anybody say anything bad about kim . she's awesome, awesome. very hard-working, bubbly.

    >> reporter: cates' husband david just happened to be away from the family home on a business trip that morning. he is back and at his daughter's hospital bedside. he's been there ever since. meredith , back to you.

    >> ron allen , thank you. jaime cates attended classes at the mt. vernon karate school. jim peacock is the owner and he joins us now along with paul apple, one of the town's selectmen. good morning to both of you.

    >> good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> paul , i know you spoke last night at the vigil for kim and jaime cates, and you described it as one of the hardest things, if not the hardest thing you've ever had to do. can you tell us what you said to friends and other members of the town that were gathered there last night?

    >> i tried to emphasize the fact that so many of us are feeling frightened and scared, and that that's an ordinary and normal thing to feel, but that the thing that holds us together is our faith in one another and that we should be focused on that as we move forward. and i hope that i conveyed that message. i think that i did.

    >> i know, paul , that you have lived in mt. vernon for 12 years, that your son actually is in the same sixth-grade class as jaime cates. what can you tell us about the cates family?

    >> kim was extraordinarily outgoing and a lot of fun to be around, and david was -- david is somewhat more reserved but a stand-up guy. and they are a great contribution to our town. they've been here for about five years, and they're like most of us. they're living an ordinary life that all of us identify with, and for this to happen has just been extraordinary and very disheartening for us.

    >> yeah, i think that makes it even more frightening, because it could be anybody in the town. it happened to be them on that early sunday morning. jim, you have been -- known jaime , obviously, for five years. she's a student at your karate school. how would you describe her?

    >> jaime was a great kid. i think any teacher would have to have a hundred of her in their schools. she was wonderful. she is wonderful.

    >> and what kind of support can you give her now?

    >> we're all pulling for her. she's got to know that she's just been adopted by over 2,000 people here in this town, and we all wish her the best and we want her to know that we are pulling for her.

    >> you know, paul , i think part of the shock of this is, first of all, in a small town like mt. vernon , things like this just aren't supposed to happen. it's a town where people leave their doors unlocked. in fact, i know you're one of the folks who did just that. and then the shock of finding out that these crimes were apparently committed by four teenage boys, local boys. how do you make sense of any of this?

    >> oh, i don't know that you do make sense of it. i think what it shows us is that life is uncertain, whether you live in new york city or you live in mt. vernon . it's a mistake to believe that you're immune from this sort of thing. and i think that, really, what we try to focus on right now are the things that keep us together, that sense of community . and that's what we're hoping to go forward with now.

    >> well, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the cates family and with all the members of your community during what is, i know, an extremely difficult time. jim peacock , paul apple, thank you for your time this morning.

    >> thank you.

    >> thank you, meredith .

    >> and we will be right back after this. *

    >>> 7:45. back now at 7:45 with a sign of just how soon the holiday season will be here. the world-famous rockefeller center ice rink opens this saturday. and believe it or not, the holiday sales

updated 10/6/2009 4:42:56 PM ET 2009-10-06T20:42:56

Four teenagers — one armed with a machete and another with a knife — picked an isolated home at random and entered it intending to kill in a middle-of-the-night attack that left a woman dead and her daughter seriously injured, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Kimberly Cates, 42, was killed in her bed early Sunday morning while her husband was away on a business trip. A neighbor said their 11-year-old daughter, Jaime, is in a Boston hospital and expected to live.

The killing stunned Mont Vernon, a rural town of about 2,000 residents near the Massachusetts border where Cates worked as a nurse.

The teens were arrested Monday and made brief court appearances late Tuesday morning in nearby Milford. They entered no pleas, and spoke only briefly to say either that they had no questions or planned to request court-appointed lawyers.

2 held without bail
Steven Spader, 17, and Christopher Gribble, 19, both of Brookline, were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder and were ordered held without bail. William Marks, 18, and Quinn Glover, 17, both of Amherst, were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and robbery and were ordered held on $500,000 cash bail.

Authorities released few details and sealed the affidavits supporting the charges.

Spader is accused of driving the teens to Cates' neighborhood sometime before 4 a.m. Sunday and cutting her with a machete in the head, torso, arms and legs. Gribble is accused of stabbing her with a knife. Both are accused of attacking Cates' daughter.

The teens picked the home at random and because it was on an isolated road, but all four knew of the plan to kill whoever was home, Assistant Attorney General William Delker said in court.

"Mr. Glover entered this home knowing that the participants intended to kill the occupants of the home if anyone was present. He entered the home armed with a deadly weapon, the homeowner was killed in her bed, and a young child was seriously injured," Delker said.

Kimberly Cates' husband, David, was out of town at time of the attack and flew back to be with his daughter, said next-door neighbor Yuki Chorney. Chorney said the two families moved to the neighborhood at about the same time in 2003, and Jaime Cates' frequently played with her daughter.

"We moved here because we wanted to live in a quiet, rural town where everybody knows everybody," Chorney said, holding back tears.

‘Town is in shock’
She said Kimberly Cates was meticulous about safety and locking doors, though she left windows open for air in the summer.

"The entire town is in shock," she said.

Deputy House Speaker Linda Foster has lived in Mont Vernon for 40 years and raised three sons there. She called it "a picture-perfect town."

Foster said she started locking her doors when a home on Main Street was robbed two decades ago. She attended Tuesday's arraignment.

"I had to see the faces of the people who ripped out the heart and soul of this community," she said. "These are not kids that came up from the big bad city. These are kids who grew up beside you. It's evil."

Glover's attorney described his client as a B student with no criminal record.

John David, 67, of Amherst, belongs to the same church as Glover's family and has known them for about five years.

He said Glover was a talented singer and guitar player who often performed at church functions, but said "he's always been a little bit withdrawn, maybe moody. Somewhat rebellious."

"We're totally astonished and in disbelief that this could be the boy we know," he said.

Two of the teens also were arraigned Tuesday on earlier charges. Marks pleaded not guilty to having marijuana in his car last month; Spader pleaded not guilty to pot possession on the same date.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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