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Defense lawyer alleges Belmont stabbing victim is a drug dealer

LACONIA — After a hearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday, a judge found there was probable cause to send the case against Robert Rama for physically restraining someone who was trying to come to the defense of a Belmont stabbing victim to a grand jury for indictment.

Rama, 22, formerly of Concord, is charged with out count of criminal liability of another for allegedly choking Corey Cromwell's girlfriend, Natasha Bruce, when she went to help break up a fight between Cromwell and John Drouin.

Drouin, 26, is charged with one count of first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing Cromwell eight or nine times on February 24 at just after 1 a.m. He faces a second count of first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing John Hynes three times during the same altercation.

The alleged stabbings occurred in what was described as a common hall that led upstairs to at least two small apartments above Lakes Region Dock — a business that is closed for the winter. The state has alleged that Rama and Drouin waited for Cromwell, who lives in the apartment, by hiding in a common bathroom at the top of the stairs.

According to Belmont Det. Raechel Moulton, who was Asst. Belknap County Attorney Carley Ahern's, only witness at yesterday's probable cause hearing, a video and audio tape obtained from Cromwell's apartment at 252 Daniel Webster Highway (Rte. 3) and installed by Cromwell shows Cromwell, Hynes and Bruce leaving the apartment at midnight on Monday.

Moulton said about an hour after the three left the video shows a car backing into a spot at nearby Bladecki's Auto and two men entering the door that leads upstairs to Cromwell's apartment.

She said a short time later, the video showed Cromwell, Hynes and Bruce arriving back at the apartment and reentering the building. Moulton also said she could hear a "commotion" on the tape after which the outside door opened and five people came out.

She said Hynes is heard on the tape saying "what do you want" and some one else was heard saying  he "wanted the stuff."

She said the audio recorded a lot of "commotion" and the video appears at one point to show all five of them at the bottom of the stairs in the lighted hallway trying to exit back into the parking lot.

Moulton also said she could hear the names John Drouin and Robert Rama being spoken by someone on the audio portion, which is consistent with the information Bruce gave Moulton about who allegedly attacked them that night.

Moulton also testified that Bruce told her Drouin had the knife.

In a brief cross examination, Rama's lawyer Ted Barnes asked Det. Moulton if the three victims told her they were driving around aimlessly that evening, which was what was printed in the initial affidavit.

"You know that to be a lie?" he asked her, inferring that Bruce lied to police about what the trio was doing just before the attack.

Moulton answered that she didn't know (it was a lie).

"You haven't figured out they )the three victims) went to buy drugs?" asked Barnes, pressing, again inferring that if Bruce lied to her about what the three did before the attact, then she could be lying about Rama allegedly choking her.

He also asked Moulton if she knew whether Cromwell had a jewels in his apartment. She said he didn't.

"Isn't that the only reason Corey would have surveillance (or) was he was a drug dealer?" asked Barnes, noting that Cromwell had installed the video and audio surveillance in the hallway and the front door and it must have been for a good reason.

"I don't know," replied Moulton.

Barnes asked Moulton if Bruce told her Rama allegedly choked her and whether it was possible he was trying to extricate her from the fight.

"I was told she was being choked and not being helped," replied Moulton.

In closing, Barnes argued that Rama didn't do anything except not be helpful that night and the state hadn't met its burden of probable cause.

Carroll determined the testimony by Moulton was that Bruce was choked by Rama when she was trying to aid Cromwell. He ordered Rama's bail to be continued at $50,000 cash only.

The next step in Rama's case is that it will be presented to a Belknap County grand jury for possible indictment.

John J. Drouin has a probable cause hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Probable cause is not a trial and is not an indication of guilt or wrongdoing. It is a hearing to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in a Superior Court.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 01:45

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Lakeport fire consumes Lakeport garage & vehicle in it

LACONIA — Fire destroyed a detached garage, along with the car inside it, at 110 Belvedere Street in Lakeport yesterday morning.

Firefighters arrived around 10:35 a.m. to find the wood-frame garage engulfed in flame as thick black smoke drifted through the neighborhood. Although the fire was quickly brought under control, gasoline in the car continued to burn while the garage was shrouded in steam for some time.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said that heat from the blaze broke a window in the house less than 10 yards away, but the fire did not reach the residence, which escaped damage apart from the broken window. The garage, the car and everything else in the garage was completely destroyed, the chief said.

Although Erickson declined to specify the cause of the fire, he said that the garaged car was on a battery charger when the fire broke out. He said that Lieutenant Chad Vaillancourt's crew was first on the scene, but since the department was engaged in training there was no shortage of personnel to fight the fire.


CAPTION: Flame and smoke from a garage afire at 110 Belvedere Street yesterday morning were visible from School Street. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

CAPTION: While firefighters cleared burnt rubble and doused stubborn flames as fire destroyed a frame garage and the car inside it , Captain Bob Landry (left), Lieutenant Chad Vaillancourt and Deputy Chief Kirk Beattie (right) discussed the next steps. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 01:35

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Fire victim identified

LACONIA — The N.H. State Fire marshal's Office has identified the man who died in Tuesday's apartment building fire here as 74-year-old Paul Blakely.

Located in the center portion of the building at 64 David Place, Blakely's 2-story home was one of six units that were either totally destroyed or badly damaged as a result of the fire.

Chief Ken Erickson the Fire Marshal and his department are still investigating the cause of the blaze that killed Blakely and left many others homeless, including building owner Lloyd "Red" Wylie Jr.

The fire, that was reported at 10:45 p.m. went to four alarms, took nearly 12 hours to completely extinguish and brought firefighters from a far away as Concord, Franklin and Holderness to the city.

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 March 2014 12:46

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At Lakes Region Community College, Shaheen touts energy efficiency bill

LACONIA — United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited Lakes Region Community College yesterday, taking the opportunity to pitch a bill to promote energy efficiency, which she co-sponsored with Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican.

Speaking to facility managers attending a class offered by the college's Energy Services and Technology program, the only one of its kind in New Hampshire, Shaheen said that "this year we have a real shot at getting this passed."

Shaheen explained that she introduced the bill last year, but it encountered a series of procedural pitfalls that kept it from reaching the floor. She said the the bill — the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act — has gathered support from senators on both sides of the aisle as well as from diverse business, labor and environmental organizations. "We count 62 votes," she said, "so we have a filibuster proof bill." The bill, she noted. will be the first energy bill to come to the floor of the Senate for a vote since 2007.

The bill would strengthen building codes to make new residential and commercial properties more energy efficient while fostering programs at universities to train personnel in the design and operation of energy-efficient commercial buildings. The Department of Energy would be directed to partner with the private sector to promote research, development and marketing of energy-efficient technology and processes with industrial applications. The federal government, the largest user of energy in the country, would be required to introduce measures to reduce energy consumption, including incorporating energy-efficient standards into new federal buildings. Likewise federal agencies that underwrite , insure, purchase or securitize home mortgages would be required to include energy efficiency in the appraisal process.

Shaheen emphasized that the bill imposes no mandates and bears few costs. She said that a recent study projected that the legislation would generate 190,000 jobs, spare consumers $16-billion annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of removing 22 million cars from the road.

As if to underline the bipartisan support the bill enjoys, as Shaheen was touring the college, the office of her Republican counterpart, Senator Kelly Ayotte, issued a statement explaining that her "Better Buildings Act" has been added to the Shaheen-Portman bill. Noting that tenants consume half or more of the energy used in commercial buildings, Ayotte's bill would create a "Tenant Star" certification to recognize those achieving energy efficiencies in leased space.


CAPTION: Facility managers from the four corners of the state studying the operation and maintenance of energy systems at Lakes Region Community got a surprise visit from United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen yesterday. Shaheen briefed the class on her legislation to promote energy-efficiency in both the public and private sectors, which promises to be the first energy bill to reach the Senbate floor for a vote since 2007. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 March 2014 01:26

Hits: 298

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