DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Eric S. Miller
, United States Attorney
Contact: AUSA Assigne to Case

New Charges Filed In Northfield Arson Case

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that a grand jury sitting in Burlington has returned a five count Superseding Indictment against five people relating to the arson that occurred in Northfield on December 14, 2015. According to the Superseding Indictment, Howard Hoisington, 32, of Berlin and Jonathan Zampieri, 34, of Montpelier, have been charged with arson with death resulting for the fire that killed Brittany Burt. Howard Hoisington, Jonathan Zampieri, Tammy Wilder, 45, of Berlin, and Kimberly Hoisington, 57, of Berlin, have been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. Richard Hoisington, 69, of Berlin and Kimberly Hoisington have been charged with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Richard Hoisington and Kimberly Hoisington have been charged maintaining a crack house. Richard Hoisington has been charged with distribution of crack cocaine. The government has determined that it may seek a maximum penalty of life in prison on the arson charge. The remaining charges each carry a maximum possible penalty of 20 years in prison.

Richard and Kimberly Hoisington were arraigned today in federal court and both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Richard and Kimberly were detained pending full detention hearings. The arraignments for Howard Hoisington, Jonathan Zampieri and Tammy Wilder are scheduled for November 10, 2016.

According to court documents, on December 14, 2015, Howard Hoisington, Jonathan Zampieri, Tammy Wilder, Kevin Atwood, Howard’s mother, Kimberly Hoisington, and Tammy’s daughter, Amanda Wilder, traveled to 258 Union Street in Northfield, the residence of Brittany Burt. Howard Hoisington, Zampieri and Atwood went inside Burt’s apartment, doused Burt and her boyfriend, Efren Serrano, with gasoline and lit them on fire. Burt died in the fire and Serrano was seriously injured. Court documents reveal that the group went to Northfield to rob Serrano of his money and drugs, and that gasoline was used as a fear tactic.

Three days after the fire, on December 17, 2015, Howard Hoisington, Jonathan Zampieri and Tammy Wilder were charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. Howard Hoisington, Jonathan Zampieri and Tammy Wilder were detained in December 2015 and are still in custody. Kevin Atwood was later charged with lying to law enforcement. Kevin Atwood is now deceased.

In the course of the investigation into the arson, investigators determined that Richard Hoisington (Howard’s father) and Kimberly Hoisington had conspired to distribute cocaine base throughout 2013 and 2014. During this same period, Richard and Kimberly also maintained a crack house by permitting crack cocaine dealers from the New York City area to stay and deal drugs out of their residence. In August 2016, the Vermont Drug Task Force developed a confidential informant who ultimately purchased crack cocaine from Richard Hoisington at the Hoisington residence in Berlin.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case was jointly investigated by the Vermont State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Vermont State Police Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Birmingham stated: “Today’s charges are the result of tireless work by investigators over the past 10 months and would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of those involved, specifically detectives from the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, arson investigators, federal agents from the ATF, and the Vermont Drug Task Force. I am extremely appreciative of everyone’s willingness to work together towards a common goal and to help provide closure for victims and their families.”

Mickey D. Leadingham, ATF Special Agent in Charge, Boston Field Division stated: “These new charges filed are very serious in nature and something ATF does not take lightly. The ATF Vermont Field Office, Vermont State Police, Vermont Drug Task Force and the U.S. Attorney's Office, have worked vigorously at this investigation, leading to these new charges and I commend the efforts by all the agencies involved.”

The United States is represented in this case by Assistant United States Attorney Wendy G. Fuller. Howard Hoisington is represented by Assistant Public Defender Steven Barth. Jonathan Zampieri is represented by Robert Katims. Tammy Wilder is represented by Ian Carleton. Kimberly Hoisington is represented by Peter Langrock. Richard Hoisington is represented by Mary Kehoe

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Field Division: Boston Field Division