3 youngsters now say they saw fatal accident

LACONIA — Three new eyewitnesses to the car crash that killed a local middle school girl and serious injured another on April 19, 2013 have come forward, prompting both sides to agreed to delay Amy Lafond's trial until at least June or July.

Lafond, who is represented by attorney Mark Sisti, had been scheduled to stand trial on May 5; however, in light of the new witnesses, Belknap County Judge James O'Neill III granted the extension.

Lafond, 53, is charged with is charged with manslaughter and two counts of negligent homicide for allegedly causing the death of Lilyanna Johnson after she allegedly went around a car that was stopped at a crosswalk, drove up on the sidewalk on Messer Street and struck Miner and her friend Allyssa Miner.

Lafond is charged with one count of second-degree assault for the injuries she allegedly cause Miner, who, among other things, suffered a broken pelvis.

Lafond also faces numerous drug and traffic charges.

According to Belknap County Prosecutor Melissa Guldbrandsen, the three eyewitnesses are juveniles who say they saw what happened that afternoon but didn't stay at the scene. They left before police arrived and were never interviewed.

In a hearing in Belknap Superior Court yesterday that was attended by nearly 20 supporters of the two girls, Guldbrandsen said one of the parents of one of the juveniles contacted her to learn why her child hadn't been contacted by officials.

Additionally, one of the juveniles now lives in Maine, which means an involved procedure to get him or her to New Hampshire for depositions and possible testimony.

Sisti said he thinks at least one of these juveniles has information that could alter the report created by the Belknap Regional Accident Investigation Team. Guldbrandsen disagrees.

She agreed that both sides should have more time before trial to interview the three but said she is "not sure they would impact the accident reconstruction."

Both attorneys told O'Neill they were planning on filing motions in limine — motions to either include or exclude information at the trial.

Gulbrandsen said she will file a motion to include a video animation of the accident made by the BRAIT. Sisti said he may contest it being introduced as evidence but hasn't decided yet.

Sisti said he would be filing a motion to exclude the blood test taken on Lafond because of a 1999 memorandum from the N.H. Attorney Generals Office about the procedures surrounding consented-to blood draws.

All agreed that a larger-than-normal jury pool will be assembled and Sisti said he will ask to individually question potential jurors.

Typically, jurors fill out a questionnaire and each attorney submits questions to the judge who asks them of the potential jurors. Sisti would like to question potential jurors directly.

Opposing counsel has 10 days to reply to motion and if hearings are necessary, they will be scheduled accordingly.

Guldbrandsen noted that a number of potential witnesses are Laconia police officers and for two weeks in June most if not all of them will be involved in policing Motorcycle Week.

O'Neill said once the trial started it was going to continue until its completion and all agreed it could take three weeks.

Lafond remains held at the Belknap County Jail in lieu of posting $50,000 cash bail.