By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — When she heard the Belknap County jury foreman say "guilty," the mother of a 21-year-old man who died of an fentanyl overdose on April 2, 2015 wept as she realized that the person responsible for selling him the drugs was going to prison for a long time.
While parents Judy Tilton and Peter Fogg said they wanted to "gather their thoughts" before they made any official statements to the media, the looks on their faces was one of tears and relief as at least part of their nearly two-year long ordeal came to a close Wednesday with 52-year-old Brian Watson's conviction.
"I hope this brings some comfort to the family whose son is gone forever," said Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier, who complimented his detective team of Nathan Buffington and Bryan Kidd-Keeler for all of the hard work they did putting together the case against Watson.
On Jan. 10, Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen began methodically laying out her case as to why Watson was the only person who could have provided the fentanyl to Seth Tilton-Fogg just an hour before 11:30 p.m. which was the last time his mother or anyone else saw him alive.
With no eyewitnesses to either the sale or the consumption of the drug, she put together the pieces of the puzzle using the digital technology, forensic evidence, and the human nature of the key people involved in the case.
During Wednesday's closing argument, she used that same technology in the form of a PowerPoint presentation aided by her narration of how the "pieces of the puzzle" came together to convince the jury of Watson's guilt, relying on the evidence as it was presented over the six days of trial.
"Melissa gave a great close," said Cormier.
When final arguments ended at noon, Judge James O'Neill gave a short break, read the jury their instructions and sent them into the jury room for lunch and then deliberations.
At 3 p.m., the jury asked to view one more time an interview of Watson while he was being interviewed by Buffington and Kidd-Keeler on May 8, 2015, in the small interview room at the Tilton Police station.
During that interview, Watson never admitted to selling the fentanyl to Tilton-Fogg, but he did say he warned him not to use to much because it was really powerful. Watson also never denied selling it to him, which is one of the things Guldbrandson emphasized to the jury.
Within a half hour of reviewing the video, the jury rendered their guilty verdict.
Guldbrandsen said she was ready to go forward at that moment with sentencing however Watson's attorney said he would need at least two weeks to prepare.
Watson could serve up to life in prison for his conviction of sales of drugs, death resulting. He was also convicted of separate count of sales of drugs.
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