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Sex assaults on young girl said to have occurred over 4 years

LACONIA — Mark Thurber appeared by video in the 4th circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday and was ordered held on $5,000 cash-only and $50,000 personal recognizance bail. He stands accused of raping a young girl over an extended period of time.

In addition, the 42-year-old Meredith man was ordered not to attend any church services or to participate in any church activities that involve minors even if he is supervised. He can get pastoral counseling and can worship with his pastor in private, ruled Judge Jim Carroll.

Thurber faces one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault for alleged having intercourse with a girl who was under the age of 13 during the months from January 2007 through December of 2010.

Police affidavits supporting Thurber's arrest are sealed by the court, however the court held open arguments for bail conditions.

Meredith Lt. Prosecutor Keith True argued Thurber should be held on $50,000 cash-only bail. He noted that Thurber recently returned from a trip to Alaska and though he didn't know if he had a passport, said he fear both a risk of flight and for the safety of the community.

True noted Thurber had $1,000 in cash on him when he was arrested.

Defense attorney John Bresaw said Thurber has no money to speak of and at most could raise $2,000 in cash.

He also said this was an uncorroborated allegation from a single person and said Thurber maintains his innocence.

He said Thurber is not a flight risk, that his biological parents are in Laconia and that he has been a resident of the state his entire life. He said he is employed locally as a plumber and has been living at his current residence for three or four years.

Bresaw said Thurber also agrees to any restrictions placed upon him by the court.

Should he post bail, Thurber in not allowed to go to Tilton or to Campton, not to drink alcohol or take any non prescribed drugs, and to check in with the Meredith Police twice daily — once at 7 a.m. and once at 7 p.m.

When Judge Carroll issued his ruling about Thurber's restrictions from attending church, Bresaw objected. He said he wasn't prepared to make an argument against the restriction yesterday but did want his objection on the record.

Thurber is a member of the Grace Capital Church said Pastor Mark Warren of Laconia. He said he is not an employee of the church or a youth councilor.

"We really focus on strong child safety mechanisms," said Warren, who added it is a sad situation about which he knows nothing.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 11:28

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Tilton PD front & center for support of soldier

TILTON — Two heroes — Police Chief Bob Cormier and Corporal Norman "Sunny" Ashburn — were honored at Town Hall yesterday by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense that ensures employment for members of the National Guard and armed forces reserve following their deployment.

Ashburn, who began his career in law enforcement in his hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia after serving four years in the Marine Corps, joined the Tilton Police Department in 2004. Together with Scott Dimond, with whom he served in the Franklin Police Department, he joined the Army National Guard in 2006 and a year later was deployed to Baghdad where he trained Iraqi police officers. His tour was marred by the death of Dimond, who was killed by an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan in October, 2008, and the loss of several other close companions.

Ashburn, who himself suffered an injury requiring surgery, returned to Tilton in 2008, by which time Cormier had succeeded Kent Chapman as chief of police. "He brought me in, sat me down, gave me a cup of coffee and arranged for me to return to work as soon I recovered from the surgery," Ashburn said.

In 2010, Ashburn was deployed on the first of two tours in Afghanistan. He returned after 18 months with , infantry unit — C Company, 3rd Battalion of the 172nd Mountain Infantry Regiment. "When I got back," he said, "the chief put me right back to work."

In 2013, Ashburn left for his third tour, again in Afghanistan, from which he returned in February. "I had plenty of leave from the guard," he said, "and the chief told me to take my, but I couldn't just sit around the house."

General Steve Curry, New Hampshire Committee of the ESGR, presented Cormier with the Patriot's Award in recognition of his support for Ashburn's repeated military service. Noting that his last posting was as commander of the Military Police, Curry also presented Cormier with a Commander's Challenge Coin, reminding him of the tradition that if the two met in a bar, the one without his coin would stand for the drinks.

Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) presented Cormier with the New Hampshire state flag that flew over the Statehouse yesterday in his honor.

Above all, Cormier recognized Ashburn by reading a letter he wrote to him extolling his three deployments in seven years as "professional and personal sacrifices" that typify the adage that "true leaders make sacrifices for the benefit of all."

(1) CAPTION: General Steve Curry Ret. (left) and Vic Rogers (third from left) of the New Hampshire Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) honored Tilton Police Chief Bob Cormier (third from right) for his support of fellow officer Norman "Sunny" Ashburn, whose service with the department was complemented by three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007 and 2014. Executive Councilor Joe Kenney (second from left), Senator Jeanie Forrester of Meredith, and Representatives Ian Raymond (second from right) and Dennis Fields (right) were on hand for the presentation at Tilton Town Hall. (Laconioa Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

(2) General Steve Curry Ret., of the New Hampshire Committee of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve presents Tilton Police Bob Cormier (middle) with the organization's Patriot Award for his support of Corporal Norman "Sunny" Ashburn (right), who was deployed once to Iraq and twice to Iraq since joining the Police Department in 2004. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 01:25

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Police break-up underage party at Weirs motel

LACONIA — Eleven youths between the ages of 17 and 22 were arrested last night after police broke up an under-age drinking party at a Weirs Beach motel.

Police said they were asked to check on a loud party at 10 p.m. at 396 Lakedside Avenue. Responding officers saw several young people drinking.

When the made contact, several of the juveniles fled but were later found by police.

Eleven of them were charged with internal possession of alcohol and intoxication.

The party's alleged host, Nelson J. Parness, 21, of Hudson, Mass. is charged with one count of facilitating an under-aged drinking party. He was released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail and given a court date of August 14 at the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 12:33

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Luxury townhomes selling well along Scenic Road at the Weirs

LACONIA — With 13 of the 19 townhomes overlooking Lookout Rock sold, Southworth Development, LLC , the owner and developer of Meredith Bay at the Weirs, has begun marketing the 24 condominium units at the North Lodge across Scenic Road, which are scheduled to be complete in November.

"We're building as we sell, which is right where a developer wants to be," David Southworth, founder, president and chief executive officer of the firm, said yesterday.

Southworth Development acquired Meredith Bay in 2006, when Richard Mailloux and his family of Bedford, who initiated the project — called Akwa Soleil — three years before, encountered financial challenges. At the time the development stretched across more than 400 acres either side of Rte. 3 and consisted of three elements. On the east side of Rte. 3, 173 house lots were planned on 140 acres atop Brickyard Mountain with a 73-slip marina, beach club, restaurant and shops on the lakefront below. Across the road, 450 residential units and a golf course would be built on 215 acres.

Within a year the development was renamed Meredith Bay. Southworth confessed he ruffled feathers in Laconia, but explained that a map designated the expanse of Lake Winnipesaukee overlooked by Brickyard Mountain "Meredith Bay." More significantly Southworth reconfigured the development on the mountain, shrinking the number and enlarging the size of the lots. He said that about 30 of the 129 lots have been sold, including many of those with expansive views of the lake, but acknowledged that it would be some years before the project was complete.

Meanwhile, Southworth acquired properties on either side of Scenic Road at the foot of Brickyard Mountain, assembling more than 30 acres, where 19 townhomes have been built between Scenic Road and the lake. The "North Lodge," the first of four matched buildings, each with 24 units, is underway across Scenic Road just north of the townhomes. Chris Duprey, project manager at Meredith Bay, noted that after acquiring two small lots earlier this year, he expects to seek approval from the Planning Board to build four townhomes, two units either side of the North Lodge, this summer.

Southworth said that "The Townhomes" and "The Lodges" have provided a diverse menu of inventory priced between $500,000 and $700,000. "We can offer townhomes on two floors, condominiums on one floor and single-family homes," he said. Duprey said that the town homes of 2,800-square-feet on two stories with finished basements have sold for between $545,000 and $670,000, mostly to second home buyers.

"The Lodges" consist of 24 single-floor units — six on each of four levels — with two or three bedrooms, ranging from 1,414 to 2,021 square feet. The living area of each unit offers an expansive view of the lake and is graced with an outdoor deck. Three elevators carry residents from an underground parking garage directly to their individual units. Southworth remarked that on learning that the elevators added $50,000 to the cost of each unit, focus groups convened in the planning process split evenly. Units at the "North Lodge" are priced between $500,000 and $700,000, with the prices rising with the size and level of the unit.

"If you want to spend in the $500,000 range," Southworth remarked, "you'll get a real headache at Meredith Bay, where there is lots of choice."

Duprey said that the Planning Board has approved construction of another 72 units divided among three buildings mirroring the "North Lodge," which would be built opposite the townhomes. Southworth said that when 14 or 16 of the units at the North Lodge are sold, work would begin on the first of the three buildings, stressing that the pace of sales will set the pace of construction.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 12:19

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