Police search for escaped murderer Left transitional housing in Bellows Falls yesterday

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William Wheelock

Police from several agencies are looking for a convicted murderer who removed an electronic monitoring device and escaped from transitional housing in Bellows Falls yesterday.

In a press release distributed this afternoon, Vermont State Police said William Wheelock, 55, who was convicted of murder in 1987 and sentenced to 21 to 99 years, had been released on furlough on Jan. 28 of this year.

He was living in transitional housing in Bellows Falls when police say Wheelock cut off the monitoring device, which alerted the Department of Corrections to call police. Wheelock was under DOC supervision at the time of his escape.

According to police, Wheelock was last seen at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, getting into a dark-colored SUV, possibly a newer model Nissan Rogue with Vermont registration, at the Penguin Mart at 124 Rockingham St. in Bellows Falls. The vehicle contained  two or three others and was driven north on U.S. Route 5 toward Rockingham.

William Wheelock, 55, was last seen on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, entering this vehicle, possibly a newer model Nissan Rogue with Vermont plates, at the Penguin Mart at 124 Rockingham St. in Bellows Falls.

Wheelock is described as white, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing about 215 pounds, with blue eyes, thinning gray hair, and “666” tattooed on his left eyelid. He has ties to the Springfield, Mass., area.

Based on the circumstances surrounding his escape and the long remainder of his prison sentence, Wheelock’s behavior is considered unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

A joint investigation to apprehend Wheelock is being conducted by the Department of Corrections, Bellows Falls Police Department, Vermont State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Anyone with information regarding Wheelock’s whereabouts is asked to contact local law enforcement. If you see Wheelock, do not approach or contact him. Immediately call 911 or one of the following agencies:

    • Vermont State Police Westminster Barracks, 802-722-4600.
    • Bellows Falls Police Department, 802-463-1234.
    • U.S. Marshals Service, 802-951-6271.

This is not the first time that Wheelock has been released. According to an Oct. 2, 2002 Rutland Herald report by Eric Francis, Wheelock was let out of prison on Oct. 1, after serving less than 15 years of a potential life sentence, then breaking the conditions of his furlough. Wheelock had been convicted of the 1987 killing of Danby resident James Brillon in an apartment in Ludlow. Brillon’s family protested the release, but he was freed after a hearing.

According to the Herald, then Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand said the state had little choice but to let Wheelock go because he had served his time “in a quiet, orderly manner” which made him eligible for the minimum time served. At the time of the killing, Wheelock was on parole in Massachusetts for armed robbery.

Another Herald story from January 2003, reported that Wheelock walked away from a residential treatment program in Massachusetts and was returned to prison in Vermont.

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  1. Jackie fowler says:

    Why did they let him out again didn’t the first time give anybody a clue that he doesn’t follow the rules and the law. I mean really, he took of once so let’s let him out again so he can do it again. I’m thinking that maybe the slap on the hand and time out isn’t working