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Friends connected by two murders

By Staff | Mar 21, 2010

NASHUA – Katie Loewy wants vengeance.

She wants compassion.

It’s a contradiction she’s aware of, but still can’t come to terms with.

Loewy, a 19-year-old Merrimack resident, and some of her friends find themselves in the unique position of being on different sides of two different murders.

Loewy considered two of the men charged in connection with the Oct. 4 murder of Mont Vernon mother Kimberly Cates as friends.

Loewy was also friends with Christopher Vydfol, the 20-year-old Nashua man who was killed at a Merrimack house party less than a month after the Mont Vernon murder.

Although she wishes Vydfol’s accused killer, Corey Furgal, 24, would get the ultimate penalty, she also hopes that people remember her other friends aren’t monsters.

“I think the biggest thing to remember is that they’re kids,” she said. “They’re babies. They made a mistake, but they’re still babies.”

The alleged Mont Vernon attackers – Stephen Spader, 18, and Christopher Gribble, 20, both of Brookline, and William Marks, 18, and Quinn Glover, 18, both of Amherst – were all teenagers in October when they were accused of breaking into Cates’ home and attacking her and her 11-year-old daughter with a machete and knives. Prosecutors have said the attack was premeditated and planned.

The alleged confrontation between Vydfol and Furgal began over a missing iPod, according to court documents.

Multiple witnesses told police that during the party, Furgal was accused of taking someone’s iPod, and refused to empty his pockets. He instead brandished a knife and began making threats. Police charge that the fatal encounter took place in the driveway.

Furgal told police he felt threatened, showed a knife for protection and was assaulted by the crowd.

Despite the sympathy she has for her friends who are accused in the Mont Vernon attack, Loewy hopes Furgal gets the most severe penalty. She wishes he would get the death penalty, even though that punishment isn’t available in light of the charges he faces.

“It’s been very difficult,” she said. “It’s really hard. It makes your mind go crazy.”

A grim awakening

One of Loewy’s friends, Christy Michaud, 20, of Amherst, learned on the Tuesday following the Mont Vernon attack, along with everyone else, who had been arrested in connection with the murder.

She was working at a “cash for gold” store in the Pheasant Lane Mall the day before when Spader, Gribble and two other people pawned about $200 in gold and silver jewelry, she said. They told her they had bought the items for $20 at a yard sale, Michaud said.

“I didn’t believe it, but I can’t really say no to anybody,” she said. “They seemed happy. They were talking to me like a normal day.”

The pawned jewelry was loot stolen from the Cates home, according to court documents.

It wasn’t Gribble’s first time in the shop, either. Michaud said he sold some things a week or two earlier, saying they had belong to his grandmother who had recently died.

The same night Gribble and Spader sold the jewelry, a Milford Police detective visited Michaud at her home and asked a number of questions about the transaction: when they came in, how long they were there, what they were wearing, what they sold and for how much.

“I was shocked,” Michaud said. “I couldn’t believe I had just seen them. We were all shocked there was even a murder in Mont Vernon and that it was kids we knew and went to school with.”

A small circle

Loewy said she met Spader and Glover about three years ago. Spader was an on-again, off-again member of a group of youths who were regulars at house parties around Nashua. She met Glover through mutual friends, not through the high school party scene.

Loewy also knew Autumn Savoy, though not well, and knew who Marks was. They, along with Gribble, were all charged in connection to the murder.

Michaud grew up with Marks as a neighbor.

Loewy and Michaud described Vydfol as a terrific person, someone who abhorred the typical drama that erupted at high school parties and spent a lot of time trying to sooth tempers and bruised egos.

“It’s been very difficult,” Loewy said. “He was an awesome guy. He was a great guy.”

The murders have been a one-two punch for Loewy and her friends.

“When Chris died, we really had to take a step back,” Loewy said. “It makes us feel even worse. With how much pain we feel, someone else is going through the same thing because of our friends. It kind of feels like another blow.”

Michaud said the spate of violence has left her shaken. She has had to confront the darkness in some people she always heard about but never had to deal with.

“It messes with your head and your emotions,” she said. “You’d never picture this. I don’t like going to parties anymore because this stuff can happen. Someone you’d never expect could be a murderer.”

Loewy has also had a hard time coming to terms with her own double standard.

She hopes people can somehow remember how her friends accused in the Mont Vernon murder are so young, and have some compassion.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.

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