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Woman who pleaded guilty to selling heroin that resulted in fatal overdose asks for new trial

LACONIA — A woman who is serving a 15- to 30-year sentence for her role in supplying a 22-year-old woman with the heroin that killed her is petitioning the court for a new trial. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for tomorrow in Belknap County Superior Court.

Karen Mekkelsen, 29, formerly of North Main Street, pleaded guilty in March 2012 in Belknap County Superior Court to conspiracy to distribute heroin with a death resulting. She also pleaded guilty to a different charge of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

Mekkelsen, who is represented by Atty. Matt Lahey, said evidence discovered during the investigation and trial of one of her alleged con-conspirators revealed that a man who was not identified in the initial investigation posted on Facebook that he was the one who gave Ashley Denty the fatal dose.

"I killed her, I shot her up and it's my fault and innocent people went to prison because of me, she was my best friend," wrote the Plymouth man on his Facebook page.

Ashely Denty, 22, formerly of Union Avenue was found dead by her neighbors on April 1, 2011, after they heard her 2-year-old son crying and convinced him to open the door and let them in. The N.H. State Medical Examiner said her death was caused by a heroin overdose.

Mekkelsen claims the Belknap County Attorney's Office had the information from Laconia Police in transcripts taken on April 24, 2013, and had forwarded them to the prosecution on July 9. At the time, the county was prosecuting Alfredo Gonzales, 48, for his alleged role in supplying the heroin to Mekkelsen. He was charged with one count of distributing heroin with death resulting.

In the wake of this new information, charges against Gonzalez were dropped in August.

Mekkelsen asked the court in September to grant her motion for a new trial, appoint a new lawyer for her, and schedule an emergency hearing. In October, Judge James O'Neill granted her request for a new court-appointed lawyer, Lahey.

Asst. County Prosecutor Carley Ahern has objected to Mekkelsen's request for a new trial by saying Mekkelson also pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled drug with the intent to distribute it, which is a separate and distinct event from the sale of the heroin that killed Denty.

As to the possession charge, affidavits at the time of her arrest said Laconia Police found 26 bags of heroin on her and that she told them Gonzalez was allegedly providing her with 600 bags weekly to sell, or $2,000 daily.

Ahern, in her motion objecting to a new trial, said Mekkelson has failed to show why the recently unearthed and, in her opinion, exculpatory evidence would lead to a verdict in her favor.

Ahern also said that in order to grant a new trial the laws says the evidence must not have been discovered by the moving party, that the evidence is admissible, and that it is of such a character that a different result would be reached — standards she said haven't been met.

"However, the third party's statements are unreliable, contrary to statements by all other witnesses and are inconsistent with the physical evidence including the medical examiner's report and the reported time of death," Ahern wrote.

The motion hearing for a new trial is scheduled for tomorrow at 9 a.m.

 
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