Meredith man arrested with stolen gun agrees to spend at least 15 months in prison

MEREDITH — A former Meredith man will serve a minimum 1 1/4 years in the New Hampshire State Prison after pleading guilty yesterday in the Belknap County Superior Court to two counts of possession of a dangerous weapon and one count of receiving stolen property.
Benjamin Vachon, 30, was sentenced to serve 1 1/2 to four years for one count of being a felon in possession must serve the minimum with three months suspended upon good behavior. On the second count of receiving stolen property he was sentenced to a suspended 3 1/2-to-seven year term that is consecutive to the first sentence.
On the single count of receiving stolen property he was sentenced to serve four to 10 years — all suspended.
Vachon was supported in court yesterday by his girlfriend, his mother, his step-mother, his father and his sister entered his guilty pleas. All four women spoke in support of him, telling Judge James O'Neill III that he "has a good soul" but had made mistakes for which he was ready to atone.
"The goal here was not the fight the charge," said Vachon's attorney Eric Wolpin, who noted that he and Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen worked out the plea on the day he was arraigned.
Wolpin said there were numerous issues with the state's case that he could challenge but said Vachon wanted to plead guilty and not go to trial. He said his client had been convicted on first-degree assault charges 10 years ago and had served eight months in the House of Corrections.
He said Vachon had been sober since 2006, was working and had a trade in the logging and tree business, but had suffered an injury that lead him to narcotics addiction and back to alcohol.
Guldbrandsen agreed that Vachon had been willing to plead his case from the day he was indicted and she told the court the police were in agreement with the negotiated plea.
Vachon was arrested by Laconia Police on March 23 and charged with his third count of driving while intoxicated. During the traffic stop, Laconia Police did an inventory search on Vachon's car and found an empty ammunition clip on the floor of the back seat and a loaded 9 mm handgun tucked underneath the steering column.
Police impounded the car and after getting a warrant found another gun, one reported stolen from Belmont, in a box in backpack.
According to a clerk in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, Vachon also pleaded guilty to the DWI in front of Judge Jim Carroll yesterday afternoon. She said he was sentenced to serve 30 24-hour sentences and his license was suspended indefinitely. Vachon was convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2006 and 2007.
O'Neill told Vachon he should consider himself fortunate to have the support of his family and he should not disappoint them again.