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Man who kicked roomate to death wants work release

LACONIA — A former local man who kicked one of his friends to death in May 2011 is seeking work release or a half-way house, according to a motion filed in Belknap County Superior Court.

Pleadings filed on behalf of Jason Durgin, 40, by the New Hampshire Department of Corrections said he has had no disciplinary record since he was sentenced to a single 3 1/2-to-7 year sentence for negligent homicide in June of 2012 for the May 2011 death of his house guest Leo LaPierre.

At the time of his sentencing, Durgin was credited with 406 days of pretrial confinement, and he will have served the minimum portion of his sentence in August 2014.

The state has asked for 30 days to file a reply, saying it asked the DOC for Durgin's records, but has yet to get them. The state also wanted a chance to speak with LaPierre's family.

The DOC said Durgin has completed a co-occurring disorders group and the Prison Classification Board believes the "likelihood of rehabilitation will be enhanced by participation in the work release program."

In May 2011, Laconia Police got a phone call from a trailer behind Quik Laundry and Cleaners for an unconscious man. The call was made by Tracy Hebert — one of two people living in Durgin's trailer.

Durgin and Hebert initially didn't come out of the trailer when police arrived and Hebert testified that Durgin had held her down in her bedroom and prevented her from answering the door. She also testified that Durgin had beaten and kicked LaPierre during an argument in the home but that she had gone back to her bedroom because she was afraid.

LaPierre, who had suffered severe head trauma, was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital and then transferred to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where he died of his injuries. He never regained consciousness.

In December 2013, the state Supreme Court unanimously upheld Durgin's conviction. He had appealed it arguing that his defense team had been unable to present the alternative theory that someone else could have committed the crime, that one of the witnesses against him had unlawfully used his EBT card, and that judge refused to set aside the verdict.

The court ruled that Durgin's trial was a "classic" jury case in which the jury weighed the evidence, determined for itself the credibility of witnesses, and came to a just conclusion.

Asst. N.H. Attorney General Benjamin Agati prosecuted Durgin.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 01:34

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Vote today: special election will decide race for executive council seat

LACONIA — The Special Election to fill the Executive Council seat in District 1, which was held for 35 years by Ray Burton until his passing in November, is being held today, March 11.
The candidates are Republican Joe Kenney of Wakefield and Democrat Michael Cryans of Hanover.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The polling stations are in Ward 1 at the Belknap County Nursing Home, in Ward 2 at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall, in Ward 3 at the Laconia Middle School, in Ward 4 at the Memorial Park Club House and in Ward 6 at the Leavitt Park Clubhouse. The Ward 5 polling station will again be at Wooodland Heights Elementary School, but it has been moved to the music room, the entrance to which is at the front of the building.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 01:02

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Polished thief leaves Laconia jewelry store with 3 expensive watches

LACONIA — City police confirmed yesterday they are investigating the theft of three Rolex watches from Sawyer's Jewelry, reported to them on Tuesday.

Capt. Matt Canfield said a lone man went into the store and used what ended up being a bad cashier's check to purchase three watches with a total value of $40,000.

"They (Sawyer's) followed all of their safeguards and protocols," Canfield said.

He said the man provided identification that he was from Connecticut and the bank check appeared to be real until management learned it wasn't and called the police.

Police have a photograph of him and witnesses said there was nothing about him that raised any red flags.

Canfield said the case is being investigated locally but the federal agents have taken an interest in it because there have been some similar thefts reported in New England.

"We're not sure yet if the case is going to the feds or not," said Canfield.

If anyone has any information they are asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 March 2014 12:17

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McCormack & Barnes make pitches for election to selectboard at candidates' forum

GILMANTON — Both candidates vying for a single spot on the Board of Selectman said last night that they support getting rid of SB-2 or the Official Ballot Act.

Stephen McCormack — a former employee of the State Employees Association and James Barnes — a former propane salesman turned entertainer — both said they didn't like SB-2 and think it leads to an uninformed electorate.

The topic arose when Moderator Mark Sisti, who is seeking re-election but is unopposed, spoke about the matter to the nearly 100 people who were at Thursday's candidate's night.

McCormack, who spoke first, said he also is concerned with the number of non-public-sessions occurring at selectman's meetings. He said that in the last 45 selectman's meetings he has counted 98 non-public sessions and, in his opinion, that's too many.

He said he would bring open government back to Gilmanton and not support all of the non-public sessions currently being held.

For disseminating information, he said he would like to set up some kind of e-mail or Internet system for town residents. He said he would support having selectman meetings aired on public television.

McCormack described himself as a listener who would like to take more time with the employees to learn what they think about matters specific to their jobs. He also supports some kind labor-management committee that would address employee issues.

Barnes said he was a newcomer to politics but described himself as someone who was "very careful with his money."

"I'm responsible but not cheap," he said, saying it's okay to spend money as long as it's done thoughtfully and with deliberation.

As to his approach to governing, he said he learned as a former baseball umpire that people "need to know the rules and play by the rules."

Both Barnes and McCormack said they support Article 30 on the warrant that sets a policy that would mandate four full-time employees for the fire department. Both also said the fire chief should be left to do his job.

"It it ain't broke don't fix it," said Barnes. "Leave it alone."

For Barnes, the biggest issue in Gilmanton is the future of the Gilmanton Year-Round Public Library and how it is tearing the town apart. He said he is fairly confident that the funding measure on the ballot this year will pass — suggesting the town forms a one-year committee with all the stakeholders to come up with a solution for the next five to 10 years.

He said he would like to have the town sponsor summer concerts at Crystal Lake Park and allow some local organizations to set up concession stands to raise money for their group.

Barnes said the old town hall in the Iron Works is underutilized and thinks the there could be some sort of community center there.

Although no one asked, Barnes took it upon himself to talk about potentially serving on the same board as his brother-in-law, selectman Don Guarino.

"My wife and his wife are sisters," he said, dismissing some of the concerns he's heard expressed by people in the community.

"My brother-in-law has about as much influence over my thinking as your brother-in-law has over yours," he said, eliciting laughter from nearly everyone in the room.

While it didn't really have anything to do with the positions held by candidates, there were some people who used Thursday night's candidates night to espouse on their own agenda with one man giving a speech about recycling and one man using the event to talk about capital improvement plans.

Elections are Tuesday March 11. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and elections are held in the Gilmanton Academy Building in the upstairs auditorium.

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 March 2014 02:22

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