BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) – A woman who spent a few days hanging out with Sheila LaBarre just before her arrest testified Tuesday that LaBarre jokingly described how she would kill someone.

Michelle Bennett of Epping said she and LaBarre visited each other’s homes, shared drinks and had lunch together in March 2006, just before LaBarre was charged with killing Kenneth Countie at her horse farm. Labarre has admitted killing both Countie and another boyfriend, Michael Deloge, but claims she was insane at the time.

Testifying at LaBarre’s insanity trial, Bennett said she and LaBarre decided to go out for pizza after LaBarre stopped by her home to pay one of her sons for work he had done for her. When they got in LaBarre’s car, Countie was sitting in the back seat, with his arms pulled out of his sleeves and tucked inside his jacket to keep warm.

A few days later, Bennett said she noticed a burning smell when she arrived at LaBarre’s home.

“(LaBarre) said, ‘Don’t mind the smell. I’m burning my garbage,”‘ said Bennett. Prosecutors say LaBarre killed Countie then burned his body.

That evening, the two women were drinking at Bennett’s home when LaBarre described how she would kill someone.

“You have to understand, when this was all happening we were joking. (LaBarre) said she would take a knife and go like this,” said Bennett as she made a jabbing motion up and down with her hands. Hearing this, LaBarre blurted out in the courtroom, “No I didn’t,” and was quickly hushed by one of her attorneys.

Bennett said that around this time, LaBarre told her Countie had left and she was concerned he might have hung himself on her property. Bennett also noticed cuts on the back and sides of LaBarres hands, which she said was from handling broken glass.

On March 23, 2006, the two women went to run some errands. Bennett said LaBarre was anxious and panicky. When they returned to the farm, two police cruisers were parked in the driveway. LaBarre said the police were looking for Countie and that “they were trying to set her up,” Bennett said.

“She was pretty stressed,” said Bennett of LaBarre. “She told me to hush up one time and that she needed to think.”

Bennett said until the last day she was with LaBarre, she did not act unusual and did not mention pedophilia. The prosecution has aimed to show LaBarre was not legally insane when she committed her crimes, that she knows the difference between right and wrong and attempted to cover up her crimes by burning evidence.

The defense asserts LaBarre was insane at the time of the murders, driven by her belief that she was an avenging angel. Her attorneys will cross-examine Bennett Wednesday morning.


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