Man who allegedly choked roommate to death ruled incompetent to stand trial

LACONIA – A former Laconia man who choked to death one of his roommates in a non 24-hour supervised group home on McGrath St. is mentally unfit to stand trial at this time, ruled Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill earlier this month.

O'Neill agreed with a motion made by Attorney General Joseph Foster who said that a second evaluation conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Albert Durkteinis in November of 2014 determined Riley could be "partially restorable with medication and treatment and the state's secure psychiatric unit."

A second evaluation was conducted by Drukteinis on Nov. 15, 2015, and he determined Riley "remains not competent to stand trial and that he is not restorable."

Kasey Riley, who was 19 during the June 2013 homicide, allegedly choked Zachary March to death during an altercation they were having over something Riley was watching on his cell phone.

After an investigation by Laconia Police and detectives from the state Division of Major Crimes, Riley was charged with alternative counts of second-degree murder.

Foster requested the court make a finding that the case against him is dismissed without prejudice – meaning the parties can still litigate the matter in the future should something change for the positive with Riley's mental health.

Drukteinis requested the court determine that Riley "'continues to demonstrate that he suffers with a mental condition as a result of mental illness as to create a potentially serious likelihood of danger to himself and others.'"

O'Neill agreed that Riley would remain "in custody for a reasonable amount of time not to exceed 90 days, to be evaluated for the appropriateness of involuntary treated [pursuant to state law.]'"

Riley is further ordered to to submit to examinations by physicians, psychiatrists, or psychologists designated by the state for determining the appropriateness of and completing the certificate for involuntary commitment.

O'Neill agreed the competency notes will be provided to the secure facility.
About five days before the homicide, family members said Riley had gone on his own accord to the Lakes Region General Hospital and was transferred to a psychiatric hospital for observation. He was allegedly released after one day and sent to live in the group home on McGrath Street. Prior to this, Riley had an apartment on Academy Street.

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Harvesting every last bit, ‘gleaners’ gather thousands of pounds of food

LACONIA – From juicy pears and tart apples harvested from local orchards and back yards, to blue potatoes and cabbage from local farms, the Lakes Regions' gleaning haul this year provided a big boost to local food pantries and church food donations.
Gleaning is the act of gathering excess and unharvested fruit and vegetables from trees and fields for redistribution to local schools, agencies, soup kitchens and food pantries.
"We've been building our base for two years, and this year we were able to gather quite a bit of food for and with the help of our local clients," said Lisa Morin of the Belknap County Conservation District.
New Hampshire Gleans, according to New Hampshire Farm to School Program, is a statewide network that works to increase the availability of fresh and local produce for distribution to local food pantries, soup kitchens, community suppers and schools.
It is supported by the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute and Morin said they harvested 300 pounds of food in 2013, 2,000 pounds of food in 2014 and about the same amount this year with additional growers wanting to participate in upcoming years.
One of the people who contributed was Ward 5 City Councilor Bob Hamel.
He said Morin's office is at the Belknap County Court House and he occasionally works as a court security officer there.
Hamel said he was telling some people, including Morin, about his pear tree and how it was full of fruit and he and his wife had eaten or canned about all of the pears they could stand.
"I didn't know what to do with them," he said, noting they were Bosc pears that were big and juicy.
He said Morin, one of her associates who was hired by the program to assist with gleaning, and he used his stepladder and picked about 100 pounds of pears.
Morin said the gleaning goals for the future include expanding their network of farmers and commercial growers, encourage a "grow a row" for home farmers for donation to the program, use the Belknap County Community Gardens to grow food for donations, and to partner with the UNH Cooperative and the Belknap County House of Corrections to produce more food.
Morin said they harvested or gleaned blueberries from KREBS Farm in Sanbornton, blueberries from Green Acre Farm in New Hampton, pears from Hamel, tomatoes from Ward 6 City Councilor Armand Bolduc, pears from Gilford resident Tom Sullivan, apples from Belmont resident Linda Frawley, a variety of vegetables from Picnic Rock Farm, apples from Belmont resident Donna Hepp, vegetables from Woodland Heights Elementary School, and onions and red potatoes from the Opechee Park House raised bed gardens.
The recipients of the food that was redistributed were the Vineyard Church Soup Kitchen and and Food Pantry, The Congregational Church Food Pantry in Tilton, the Second Baptist Church in Sanbornton, and the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester.

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Former Lakeview Center in Belmont sued over charges of rape by patient

LACONIA – A Merrimack man has filed suit in the Belknap County Superior Court against the former Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center at the Meadows facility on 57 Horne Road in Belmont, saying his late wife was sexually assaulted there by another resident.

The suit says that on April 28, 2014, the man's wife, who had previously been hospitalized at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, was found in her room with her pajama bottoms on backward and pulled down to her ankles. She told the nurse that she had been raped.

The victim's obituary in The Union Leader said she was 50 and died on June 8, 2014, from complications of ALS – Lou Gehrig's Disease – and dementia.

According to the suit, the victim was taken to the home in Belmont on April 25, 2014, and her medical records accompanied her, detailing that she often engaged in greeting men with some movements that could be interpreted as sexual advances.

Her treatment plan, said her late husband in the complaint, called for one-to-one care and an educational program on the appropriate means of sexual expression and behavior.

The suit claims she was assaulted by the male resident, who allegedly had a proclivity to being "sexually opportunistic" after meeting him for the first time earlier that day. Her husband claims that despite the staff being aware of the proclivities of both his wife and the other resident, they were both placed on the same floor.

On the night of the assault, the suit claims there were three staff members there – one for each floor and a nurse who floated between floors. It contends that the staff member who took over at 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 had a responsibility to do laundry and the victim's room wasn't visible from the laundry room.

Sometime in the early morning hours she was allegedly raped.

The assault was reported by the then director to the state Bureau of Development Services and an investigation conducted pursuant to state regulations determined that the victim's rights were violated.

The suit asks for an unknown amount of damages for negligence and loss of consortium as the victim allegedly became fearful of all men including her husband, who, following the assault, was unable to visit her, hold her hand or comfort her.
Lakeview has since sold the Belmont facility to a different company that's in the same business, and last December, Gov. Maggie Hassan ordered that no further placements be made there or in their Effingham facility.

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