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Accused murderer talk police he was a practiced student of choke holds

LACONIA — Newly unsealed documents regarding a June 10 homicide at a mental health group support home on on McGrath Street revealed that accused murderer Kasey Riley, 20, was allegedly involved in a fight with housemate and victim Zachary March over videos.

According to affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, Riley told responding police that he and March had been sitting in the living room of the home. He said March was watching television while Riley was watching videos about hunting on You Tube via his cell phone.

State Police investigators said Riley told them that March objected to the videos Riley was watching because he felt they were "gory and cruel."

Riley told police March came at him and swung his fists at him. He said March said he was going to knock out Riley and "then I'm going to get a knife and kill you."

His story was that March got him on his back and Riley put his legs and arms around March and was squeezing him. He alleged told police he was able to secure him and "squeezed his neck for about thirty seconds" and that March "fake passed out."

Riley claims he let go and March picked up a pen and tried to stab him but stabbed the couch instead.

The two allegedly kept wrestling until Riley said he got March's neck between his legs and squeezed his arteries for what he said was about ten minutes.

Riley told police he smelled "flatulence" and March started convulsing. Riley allegedly said "Oh my God, I think I've killed him" and got water and dumped it on March in an attempt to revive him.

A third male who lives in the house told police that Riley had previously placed him in three separate choke holds about two days before the homicide. The unidentified male said he had trouble breathing and started to panic. The same male also said that on Sunday, June 9, he allegedly heard Riley talking on his cell phone and that he seemed agitated and was yelling.

An unidentified woman who also lives in the house told police that Riley came upstairs and started screaming her name and saying that March was "out cold." she said she ran downstairs and called 911.

The woman also said that Riley was pacing back and forth saying "What am I going to do?" She told state police that when police arrived and took Riley out to the porch to speak with him, he turned to her and said, "I guess I'm going to prison for murder."

The same woman also said she, Riley and March would smoke marijuana "on a nightly basis" however she had not smoked any on June 9 and had not seen either Riley or March smoke pot that night.

The lead state police investigator said Riley allegedly demonstrated various choke holds to an officer and told him he had practiced them ofter. He allegedly told police he had held his friends in choke holds during horseplay and had once choked his mother who needed to be hospitalized as a result.

He also said Riley told him he understood that he could "choke someone out" by placing pressure on his or her arteries.

Riley was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on two counts of second-degree homicide — one that he recklessly caused March's death and one that he negligently caused March's death. They are different theories of the same crime.

According to Genesis Behavior Health Executive Director Maggie Pritchard, who was interviewed in June, 24 McGrath Street is one of two support homes the agency owns in Laconia.

She said a "support home" differs from a "group home" in that a "support home" provides homes for people who might become homeless and have some kind of emotional or mental disability. A "support home" has programs but no 24-hour supervision. A "group home," said Pritchard, has 24-hour supervision.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 01:32

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County will submit 'bare bones' budget that increases tax by 4%

LACONIA — After making a second round of cuts on Monday, the Belknap County Commission will recommend a budget of $26,570,997 for 2014 when it meets this morning. The budget represents an increase appropriations of $182,030 or 0.7 percent and an increase in the amount to be raised by property taxes of $555,892 or 4 percent.

"We chopped like hell," said Commissioner John Thomas of Belmont, who chairs the commission. "This is pretty much a bare bones budget. We did all we could without laying people off and we will do anything not to lay people off in this economy. " But, anticipating another uphill struggle to win approval of the budget from the Belknap County Convention, Thomas said "nothing will be enough for them."

The total appropriation recommended by the commission is $3.2 million, or 10.6 percent, less than in 2008, while the amount to be raised by taxes is $173,450, or 1.2 percent, more than in 2008.

Earlier this month the commission pared nearly $2.5 million from the appropriations requested by county departments to reach a budget of $27,0113,237 and this week trimmed another $442,240 to limit the increase to less than 1 percent. The commissioners decided to forego creating three new positions in the Department of Corrections at a cost of $227,000 and eliminated two vacant positions at the county nursing home to spare another $108,500. The replacement of windows at the Belknap County Superior Court at $60,000 and two compressors for the HVAC system at the county complex at $16,000 were shelved. The information technology budget was cut by $15,000 and the maintenance budget by $10,000 while foregoing two television sets for the nursing home saved $2,000.

Thomas said the commission will recommend spending $100,000 for a surveillance system at the county complex, which is the only significant capital project left in the budget.

The budget includes a 1.6-percent cost-of-living raise and three-percent "step" increase for eligible employees. The commissioners also funded bonuses for unused sick days and length of service as well as the increase in the employer share of health insurance premiums, all of which are contractual obligations prescribed by the collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the union representing county employees. The convention struck funding for both bonuses and increased health insurance premiums from the 2013 budget, but the commission paid the bills anyway by shuffling monies within departmental budgets.

"Now this will be convention's budget and their responsibility," said Thomas. "We have given them a bare bones budget to pay for what we thought the county needed."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 01:11

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Tilton man identified as victim of falling pine tree

LACONIA — Police yesterday identified the man who was struck and killed when high winds toppled a pine tree across Davidson Drive, near the boat club, at South Down Shores on Sunday afternoon as Paul Russell, 54, of Tilton.

According to a prepared statement, police officers and firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 4:13 p.m. where Officer Jonathan Howe found Russell, trapped beneath a large pine tree and covered with fallen limbs.  Fire Lieutenant Chad Vaillancourt said that firefighters cleared the limbs and debris only to find that Russell had already died from his injuries. He said that Russell, who was employed by Sonny and Sons Tree Service of Belmont, was working with another man to remove a pine tree that had fallen across the road when a second pine tree, standing near the first, snapped off about six feet above the ground and fell directly upon on him. Vaillancourt estimated the tree was approximately three feet in diameter.

Chet Cilley said that several of the villages at South Down Shores frequently hired Sonny and Sons Tree Service and the company was called when the tree blocked the roadway on Sunday.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:48

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Meredith Police Dept. observing ‘Grovember’

MEREDITH — To call attention to their support for men diagnosed with and fighting prostate cancer, officers from the Police Department have grown beards. The beards are part of Grovember — a nationwide program to call attention to prostate cancer.

In addition, the Meredith Police Association will donate $2,000 plus any and all contributions from their fund raiser to the prostate cancer research.

A blue ribbon of support has been added to each Meredith police cruiser.

The father of one of the department's officers is recovering from recent prostate cancer surgery and the police association chose prostate cancer research for one of their annual fund raisers.

The Meredith Police Association is financed strictly through fundraisers and donations. So far this year, Detective Corporal John Eichhorn said the MPA has donated to nearly $10,000 to various charities and local organizations.

In addition, the MPA purchases Christmas gifts for needy children in Meredith, hosts a toy drive, and provides money and gift cards to residents in need or for those who have suffered through a tragedy like a house fire.

Donations to the MPA and the Grovember Prostate Cancer awareness campaign can be made through the Meredith Police Association, P.O. Box 1366, Meredith, N.H. 03253 or by calling the Meredith Police at 279-4561.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:48

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