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Sex offender arrested: 15-year-old tells police she exchanged sex for booze

GILFORD — Police have charged a registered sex offender with one count of felonious sexual assault for an act allegedly committed behind the Gilford Cinema on October 14.

David Ferland, 37, of 686 Union Avenue Apt. 2A in Laconia is being held on $250,000 cash-only bail until he can appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division this morning.

According to Gilford Police, the father of a 15-year-old girl discovered a cell phone his daughter was not allowed to have in her possession and was concerned by the content of some of the conversations.

The girl later told police she had met a stranger (later identified as Ferland) over the Internet and had communicated with him numerous times over her cell phone. She also told police she and a female friend met Ferland behind the cinema and sexual acts were performed in exchange for alcohol.

Gilford Police worked with the New Hampshire Department of Corrections Parole and Probation Division of Laconia and, using various channels and methods, were able to identify Ferland.

He was initially taken into custody for a parole violation and during his interview police said he admitted having contact with the girl over the Internet and the sexual encounter.

Police said Ferland's criminal sexual history in New Hampshire began in 2003 and he had since been convicted of nine counts of felonious sexual assault — stemming from two separate incidents, two counts of certain use of computer services, 21 counts child pornography, and one count of criminal solicitation. His convictions stemmed from incidents in Rockingham and Grafton Counties.

Gilford Police said additional charges are expected to include, but not be limited to, the second alleged victim.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 December 2013 12:55

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Gilford marina damaged by Xmas Eve fire

GILFORD — Firefighters extinguished a smoky blaze Tuesday afternoon that nearly destroyed the show room and main offices of the Silver Sands Marina at 103 Weirs Road (Rte. 11-B).

The fire was reported just before 4 p.m. by a passerby who noticed a fire inside the main building.

When firefighters arrived, smoke was billowing from the second floor rear portion of the main building, which houses the canvass shop.

Smoke was ventilating from the front of the building and at one point some began seeping from the eaves along the main part of the building.

Fire Chief Steve Carrier said firefighters set up a water line near the marina but were able to extinguish the flames with the water brought in the responding firetrucks from Gilford and Laconia.

Carrier said firefighters were able to contain the fire to the canvas room, adding there is minor smoke and water damage to the remainder of the building.

"This was a great job by the 'first-in' crews," Carrier said. This was a large and valuable building with valuable contents and they were able to confine the fire and extinguish it where it started.

Gilford firefighters was assisted at the marina by crews from Laconia, Meredith and Belmont. Crews from the Tilton-Northfield Fire Department and Holderness Fie Department provided station coverage.

Carrier said the cause of the fire is unknown and is being investigated by Deputy Fire Chief Brad Ober.


CUTLINE – Smoke billows from the showroom and main offices of the Silver Sands Marina Tuesday afternoon as firefighters work to extinguish the blaze that began in the second floor canvas shop. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 December 2013 12:43

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Councilor asks county to put new jail plan on hold

LACONIA — The appearance of the Belknap County Commission before the City Council this week led to a sharp exchange between Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3) and Commissioner Ed Philpot over how to address the problems arising from the rising population and deteriorating condition of the county jail.

Philpot defended the commission's determination to persevere with the process of planning a new jail. He said that complying with new federal standards, including the separation of inmates by age, gender and class of offenders, would be very difficult in light of the configuration and condition of the existing facility. He explained that while there is no funding in the proposed 2014 county budget, the commission will request a supplemental appropriation in the form of a $3.5 million bond issue to the convention early next year. The borrowing would provide $500,000 for a schematic design for a new facility, as well $1 million for replacing the HVAC system at the current jail and $1.8 million for the three-year rental of 48-bed temporary housing facility.

In light of the commission's frayed relationship with the Belknap County Convention, Lipman questioned the decision to seek funding to design a new facility. He suggested instead that the commissioners request sufficient funds to ensure "minimal compliance" and shelve plan to build a new jail until the political situation becomes more favorable.

Philpot reminded Lipman that the commissioners have already invested significant time and resources in the planning process only to meet with resistance from the convention. He declared that he would continued to advocate for a new facility. Stressing the need for a new jail, he said "I don't want to be the guy on the lawn telling parents I'm sorry your son burned to death."

Lipman countered that there is a time for advocacy and a time for governance. He urged the commission to drop its request to fund a schematic design and pursue a compromise with the convention and "take whatever you can get" to correct the most immediate issues with the existing facility. Otherwise, he said that county taxpayers could find themselves faced with the rising costs of deferred maintenance and potential litigation.

Philpot conceded that "if I thought we could have a reasonable conversation, I would do it." But, he said that when the commission has sought to open a dialogue the only response from the convention has been "thank you for your input."

"For us it's a lose-lose," Lipman said. "My plea to you and the convention is to put funding for maintenance in the budget and not put ourselves in the position to be sued."

"I hope you will express the same thought to you representatives," Philpot replied, adding "we are at a stalemate in governing. There is nothing we can do. We are talking to ourselves."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 12:33

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Lafond trial ordered to proceed on schedule

LACONIA — On Christmas Eve, Justice James D. O'Neill,III denied the request of attorney Mark Sisti, who is defending Amy Lafond against charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide, to delay her trail for 90 days and reaffirmed that the final pre-trial conference will be held on January 13 and the jury will be selected on February 3, all as originally scheduled.

In seeking the postponement, Sisti told the court he was scheduled to try criminal cases in Merrimack County County Superior Court beginning on January 13 and in Rockingham County Superior Court on February 3. In denying the request, O'Neill held that the schedule for Lafond's trial was set on October 3 and took precedent over Sisiti's other appearances. Originally Lafond was represented by the New Hampshire Public Defenders office and retained Sisti on November 22, well after the trial was scheduled.

The charges against Lafond, 52, arose from an incident on April 19 when she allegedly drove into two teenage girls on Messer Street, killing Lilyanna Johnson and seriously injuring Allyssa Miner.

In a separate ruling, O'Neill granted the request of Belknap County Attorney Melissa C. Guldbrandsen to consolidate all the charges against Lafond into a single trial. In charging manslaughter the state alleges that LaFond recklessly caused the death of Johnson by driving while distracted at an excessive speed after consuming drugs. She was also indicted on two alternative theories of negligent homicide one for "failing to maintain a proper lookout" and the other for "failing to pay due attention while operating a motor vehicle after having consumed drugs." Lafond is also charged with second-degree assault for injuring Miner. In addition, Lafond is charged with possession of a narcotic drug and possession of a controlled drug without a valid prescription as well as traffic violations.

Gulbrandsen claimed that it would be appropriate to consolidate all the charges since they stem from the same alleged circumstances and investigation. The defense did not object to her request.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 December 2013 11:20

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