County Attorney drops reckless conduct charges against woman who fired 3 shots during police standoff as part of plea deal
LACONIA — A woman who county prosecutors had accused of firing three shots at police during a SWAT team standoff in Belmont in 2010 was not, in the end, prosecuted for three felony counts of reckless conduct.
As part of the negotiated plea arrangement, Diamond Morrill, now 23, of Gilford pleaded no contest but was found guilty by Judge Kenneth McHugh of one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child by firing a loaded weapon while the child was in the house and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest for refusing to come out of the 672 Union Road home on September 3, 2010.
In separate offenses not related to to Belmont standoff but consolidated as part of a "global resolution," Morrill pleaded guilty to one felony count of selling drug to an undercover police officer in Gilford, and two felony counts of possession of controlled drugs in Laconia.
For resisting arrest Morrill was sentenced to serve 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections with 6 months suspended. She was credited with 180 days of pretrial confinement and was placed on probation for 2 years.
For endangering the welfare of a child, she was sentenced to 12 months with six months suspended in the House of Corrections to be served consecutively to the resisting arrest sentence.
Any portion of the suspended sentences can be brought forward within three years.
For sales of a controlled drug, she was sentenced to 12 months in the House of Correction and credited with 365 days of pretrial confinement. She was fined $500 plus administrative costs — all suspended — and ordered to reimburse the N.H. Narcotics Investigation Unit with $105.
For each of the drug possession charges, Morrill was sentenced to 2-4 years in the New Hamsphire State Prison — all of which is suspended. Those charges can be brought forward within seven years of Monday's sentencing.
It took nearly three years for the case to be resolved because a judge had previously ruled Morrill was mentally incapable of understanding the charges or in assisting her attorney in her own defense.
She has been in treatment and yesterday told Judge McHugh she was feeling fine, was taking her prescribed medications, and understood what was happening in the court room.
Morrill was one of three adults who were in the Union Road home when the U.S. Marshals Office, New Hampshire Division went to the home with a warrant to arrest Chris Kelly who was staying with his girlfriend, now wife, Alisha Morgan.
Morgan came out of the house to see what was happening while Kelly and Morrill stayed inside with Morgan's daughter who was sleeping at the time. Kelly and Morrill refused to leave the house and the Belknap County Special Operations Group was called.
Members of the Belknap County Special Operations Group surrounded the house for what ended up being a seven-hour standoff. Around 3 a.m. three shots came from the home — each narrowly missing three of the police officers who had surrounded the home.
Around 6 a.m. Kelly came out of the house with Morgan's daughter and police used a N.H. State Police robot to search the house. Morrill, according to arrest affidavits, was found sleeping in a back bedroom with a handgun within her reach as she slept on the mattress.
In November of 2011, a Belknap County jury found Kelly guilty of resisting arrest after a three day trial. He was sentenced to serve one year in the N.H. State prison. Prior to jury deliberations, Judge James O'Neill refused to allow other felony charges against Kelly to go forward, ruling Belknap County Prosecutor Melissa Guldbrandsen had not presented enough evidence to let a jury decide if he was guilty of criminal restraint and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Assistant Deputy County Attorney Carley Ahern prosecuted Morrill. Atty. Ted Barnes represented her.