Rooney pleads not guilty

Burlington police officers led Brain Lee Rooney, shackled and eyes downcast, into the Vermont District Court in Burlington on Thursday for his arraignment. David Sleigh, Rooney’s court-appointed lawyer pleaded not guilty on Rooney’s behalf. Rooney is charged with aggravated homicide, the most serious offense in the State of Vermont. The minimum sentence for aggravated homicide is life without parole. On Oct. 25 Burlington police Detective Cpl. Ray Nails swore on the affidavit of probable cause for the arrest of Rooney. The evidence includes K-9 positive indications of scent and DNA evidence. It appears that Rooney sexually assaulted and killed Gardner-Quinn between the hours of 2:34 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 7, according to the affidavit. Rooney and Gardner-Quinn were documented walking up Main Street on the Perrywinkle jewelry store security camera tape at 2:34 a.m. At 4:30 a.m. Rooney entered his parents home in Richmond and spent the night on the couch. Gardner-Quinn’s body was discovered Oct. 13 by hikers at the Huntington Gorge, face down, and partially covered by sticks and leaves. She was fully clothed, but it appeared that her pants had been hastily put back on, according to the affidavit. Semen samples found on Gardner-Quinn’s body match Rooney’s DNA. The autopsy concluded Gardner-Quinn’s died resulting from strangulation and blunt force trauma. K-9 Quincy, of Maine, detected a positive presence of Gardner-Quinn’s scent on the passenger side door and the rear hatch of Rooney’s red jeep. It is unclear if Gardner-Quinn was forced into the vehicle. K-9 units also found Gardner-Quinn’s scent in a trailer behind Rooney’s parent’s house. Rooney has been under police scrutiny since Oct. 8, the day following Gardner-Quinn’s disappearance. He has made multiple statements to the police about his whereabouts during the early hours of Oct. 7. Rooney told Tommy Lang, a close friend of Gardner-Quinn, that he had parted ways with Gardner-Quinn after walking East on Main Street. Later on Oct. 13 Rooney said to Burlington police Detective Daniel Merchand, “I honestly don’t know what I did that night. If I did it, I deserve to die.” Rooney has maintained that he was blackout drunk and does not remember how he arrived at his parent’s house in Richmond. Police are still waiting for the results from the toxicology report on Gardner-Quinn’s body to determine if any chemical substances were used to incapacitate her. Rooney has a record of sexual abuse that includes the use of a gasoline soaked rage to incapacitate women and death threats against women, according to court documents. Rooney’s next court date is set for Nov. 17 at the Vermont District Court in Burlington.