LACONIA — A Belknap County Superior Court Judge has overturned the conviction of a former city woman who had pleaded guilty in 2012 to selling heroin with a death resulting.
Instead, Karen Mekkelsen, 38, agreed yesterday to plead guilty to conspiracy to sell heroin and accepted a 3 1/2-to 7-year sentence.
She had been sentenced to serve 10 to 15 years in the New Hampshire State Prison for Women and has already served 917 days on the now-vacated charge. She was credited with the time she served, meaning she should be free in about one year.
With 10 members of her friends and family in court to support her, Mekkelsen tearfully told Judge James O'Neill that having her original conviction negated was a "miracle" and she knows it doesn't happen very often. She the past two and one-half years, including the accusation that she sold the heroin that killed 22-year-old Ashley Denty as "one of her darkest hours."
"I want to change. I don't want to sell drugs. I don't want to be that person," she said weeping openly.
Represented by attorney Matt Lahey, Mekkelsen and Asst. Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern had initially agreed on a 3-year minimum sentence however O'Neill wanted her to serve the entire minimum sentence of three an one-half years.
He questioned both lawyers as to why she should get the half year consideration.
Ahern said Mekkelson has a criminal record dating back to 2002. She said the Laconia Police were in agreement with the new charge and sentence and allowed that after Mekkelson pleaded guilty, they continued to investigate Denty's death and learned a man who lives in Plymouth posted something on his Facebook page admitting he was the one who gave Denty the injection that killed her.
Lahey said that when she was initially confronted by Laconia Police about the circumstances surrounding Denty's death, she was "completely taken aback" and she cooperated completely with them. He said she continues to cooperate with police and was willing to serve the entire 3 1/2-year sentence.
"She knows she has been given a break," Lahey said.
In 2012, Mekkelsen also pleaded guilty to a separate and distinct count of possession of heroin with intent to sell and that conviction remains unchanged.
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 01:40
Eric Grant trial scheduled to start Tuesday but role to be played by therapist & her notes still up in air
LACONIA — The attorney for Eric Grant continued to press the court to allow the records of the therapist who interviewed a now teenaged girl who has accused the singer of sexual assault at a New Years Eve party in 2006.
Atty. Emily McLaughlin renewed her plea in Belknap County Superior Court yesterday morning for allowing the notes of the therapist's interview with the alleged victim be used to impeach the testimony of the victim.
McLaughlin reiterated her request because she said her efforts to speak with the girl's counselor have been unfruitful and the subpoena to have her appear in court has yet to be served by the California sheriff's office charged with that duty. The trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning and the jury has already been selected.
The notes have been reviewed "in camera" or privately by O'Neill.
McLaughlin said that in one of the girl's initial statements to her therapist she said she was digitally assaulted by Grant in a room full of people that included her mother and her grandmother and that she screamed for help but no one helped her.
According to McLaughlin, the alleged victim told different stories at different times to different people — including the investigator and the therapist — about what she alleges happened that night and who was in the room to witness it.
McLaughlin said that in light of her repeated attempts to get the therapist to New Hampshire — something she said she has tried to do since Grant was indicted — the jury should be allowed to consider the notes as a rebuttal to the alleged victim's testimony.
"What's appropriate is a live witness," said Asst. Prosecutor Carley Ahern who objects to allowing the jury to review the notes.
She said agreeing to admit the therapist's statements is premature and that the defense has conceded that her mother was present in the past. "Any evidence can be fleshed out from the mother," said Ahern.
McLaughlin rebutted by saying that if the state wanted evidence then they should of made an effort to get her to New Hampshire.
"This gentleman," she said gesturing toward Grant, "is on trial for his life. No fair trial can be conducted without the notes."
She said the court should allow the records to be admitted and not let the witness's unavailability be introduced.
Grant has maintained his innocence since his December 2012 indictment. He has been free on personal recognizance bail.
Judge O'Neill said he would take the motions and oral arguments under advisement. As of 3 p.m. Friday, he had not issued a ruling.
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 01:36
LACONIA — The city will mark Veterans Day with a ceremony honoring the men and women of the armed services on Monday, Nov. 11 beginning at 11 a.m, the day and the hour the guns fell silent to bring the First World War to an close 95 years ago.
The ceremony in Veterans Park will be conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1670 and will feature remarks by post Commander Glen Groleau, the Commander of the American Legion Wilkins-Smith Post 1 and Mike Seymour, the Mayor of Laconia as well as a performance by a choral group from Laconia High School.
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 01:18
LACONIA — A 17-year-old teen was released on personal recognizance bail and ordered to live with his grandmother after he allegedly threatened to stab his mother and step-father while they were sleeping.
Police affidavits said Christopher Dame, 17, had been arguing with them took a swing at his step-father who said he restrained him by the arms.
The step-father said that when he stopped holding Dame, Dame pulled a steak knife from a kitchen drawer and allegedly threatened him with it. They were allegedly about seven or eight feet from each other.
Dame is said to have returned the knife to the drawer and the two continued to argue. The step-father said the teen grabbed the knife again and raised it a second time saying to him and his step-mother, "I'll just wait until you go to bed and I'll stab you both in your sleep."
Police said Dame's mother confirmed the step-father's story and both said he made them very nervous. The two also said there was a 5-year-old in the house.
Police said that after the threats, Dame allegedly went into the living room and picked up an electric guitar and smashed it on the floor.
He is charged with two felony counts of criminal threatening with a deadly weapon and one misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief.
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 01:16
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