Fight challenge results in slaying

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – A local man is facing murder charges after police say he shot a party goer in the chest after a challenge about who was the best fighter.

Rhynell Lewis, 36, died just after 11 p.m. Friday.

The suspect, Skyler Andres Ortiz Underhill, 19, was arrested minutes after police were called to the party.

Police said Lewis and Underhill were drinking at a party when several people began arguing about who was the best fighter. Witnesses told police Lewis said to Underhill that if Underhill shot Lewis, Lewis would cut Underhill’s throat.

Underhill then shot Lewis in the chest with a .45 caliber handgun, said Burlington Police Lt. Michael Schirling.

Neighbor Melissa Haire said that while standing on her porch she saw Underhill in the driveway with a gun in his hand.

“He looked right at me and took off running down the street,” Haire said.

Underhill was arrested less than a block away. Police recovered the weapon used to shoot Lewis, but they are still looking for the magazine.

“My daughter’s window is right there, 25 feet away,” neighbor Jason Baker said, outside his home pointing to a second-story window.

“Unbelievable. We didn’t hear anything, and she didn’t wake up.”

Underhill is being held for lack of $100,000 bail. He is due in court today.

In addition to the murder charges, Underhill will be charged with participating in the March 21 armed robbery of a Burlington taxi driver, said Detective Ray Nails said.

“The first thing I said to him was, This was not like the robbery, kid,”‘ Nails said he told Underhill.

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