Knife possession violates man’s probation, now he faces jail time

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A sheathed hunting knife being carried by a man convicted of nonviolent drug crimes in 2014 was enough to send him to state prison for 2 1/2 to 5 years, said a Belknap County Superior Court judge last week.

Robert Lilly, 41, formerly of 397 Union Ave., has been in jail since March 23 when Presiding Justice James O'Neill determined he violated Rule 7 of his probation agreement that says he will "be of good conduct, obey all laws and be arrest-free."

A request to reconsider the sentence was denied, so Lilly appealed the court's determination that he was ineligible for bail while awaiting trial for possession of the knife to the state Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court determined that O'Neill did not fully explain his decision for denying Lilly bail and remanded, or sent back, the ruling to him for a more thorough explanation, which was filed on Sept. 2.

Paperwork from the court said that Lilly was arrested by Gilford Police on Nov. 13, 2015, at Walmart and charged with operating (a motorcycle) after suspension, operating without giving financial proof and being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon, which was the sheathed hunting knife hanging from his belt. The charge of operating without giving proof was dismissed.

Police said they were called to Walmart to deal with a woman who was on the property after being ordered to stay away. The officer found the woman outside in a group of people that included Lilly.

Lilly went into Walmart and purchased something from one of the vending machines, and the officer noticed the sheathed hunting knife hanging off his belt. His supervisor recognized Lilly and verified he had a previous felony conviction.

Once Lilly finished his purchase, police said he and his female companion walked to a parked motorcycle, started it and drove to another portion of the parking lot and parked it there.

During his encounter with Lilly, the Gilford officer said Lilly never reached for the knife nor did he act in a threatening manner to him or anyone else. The officer would later testify that he agreed with the statement that Lilly appeared to be "minding his own business."

In January of 2016, Lilly was indicted for being a felon in possession of a weapon. He was also given notice that he violated his probation for being arrested and a hearing was set for March.

After the hearing, Lilly was found "chargeable" and sent to prison for 2 ½ to 5 years for his underlying conviction for drug possession.

In early June, Lilly's criminal case for being a felon in possession of deadly weapon went to trial. After the prosecutor presented its side of the case, O'Neill determined she had not provided enough evidence for a new criminal conviction and he dismissed the case and dismissed the jury.

Yet, Lilly remains in prison.

According to a local attorney not affiliated with the case, the standard for probation violations is much lower than for a new criminal conviction."

"It's more like a civil standard," he said. "More likely than not, as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt."

Lilly is eligible for parole on March 23, 2018.

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Are you ready to make a choice? State primary is this Tuesday

BELKNAP COUNTY VOTERS GUIDE

The 2016 primary election will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

At the polls voters must take the ballot of the party — either Republican or Democratic — with which they are registered. Voters registered as undeclared or independent may select the ballot of either party.

The Republican primary election for the United States Senate will appear on all GOP ballots in the county. The candidates on the ballot are Kelly Ayotte,Tom Alciere, Gerard Beloin, Stanley Michael Emanuel and Jim Rubens. Maggie Hassan, the Democratic candidate for the Senate, is unopposed.

The Republican primary election for the First Congressional District includes five candidates —Frank Guinta, Rich Ashooh, Jamieson Grader, Michael Callis and Robert Risley — and is on the ballot in every municipality in the county except for Center Harbor, which is in the Second Congressional District. Carol Shea-Porter, the Democratic candidate, is unopposed.

In Center Harbor, the ballot lists seven Republican candidates — Eric Estevez, Jack Flanagan, Walter Kelly, Jim Lawrence, Andy Martin, Jay Mercer and Casey Newell — in the primary election in the Second Congressional District. Annie Kuster, the Democratic candidate is unopposed.

For governor there are five candidates on the Republican primary election ballot — Frank Edelblut, Jeanie Forrester, Ted Gatsas, Jonathan Lavoie and Chris Sununu — and five candidates on the Democratic ballot — Mark Connolly, Derek Dextraze, Ian Freeman, Steve Marchand and Colin Van Ostern.

For Executive Council in District 1, which includes Laconia, Alton, Center Harbor, Gilford, Meredith, New Hampton, Sanbornton and Tilton, there are two candidates on the Republican primary election ballot — Joe Kenney and Paul Carreiro. Michael Cryans, the Democratic candidate, is unopposed.

For Executive Council in District 2, which includes Barnstead, Belmont and Gilmanton, Sam Cataldo, the Republican candidate is unopposed. There are three candidates on the Democratic primary election ballot: Shawn Mickelonis, John Shea and Andru Volinsky.

In the New Hampshire Senate, District 2, which includes Center Harbor, Meredith, New Hampton, Sanbornton and Tilton, there are two candidates on the Republican primary election ballot: Brian Gallagher and Bob Giuda.

Voters in Belknap County elect 18 of the 400 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from nine districts into which the county is divided. This year there Republican primary elections in four districts and a Democratic primary election in one district.

In District 4, the towns of Sanbornton and Tilton, there are four Republican candidates for the two places on the general election ballot: Richard Brothers, Denis Fields, Timothy Lang and John Vorel.

In District 5, the towns of Alton and Gilmanton, there are three Republican candidates for the two places on the general election ballot: Michael Maloney, Gerald Theodora and Peter Varney.

In District 6, the town of Belmont, there are three Republican candidates for the two places on the general election ballot: Mike Sylvia, John Plumer and Joel Weinrebe.

In District 7, the town of Barnstead, there are two Republican candidates for one place on the general election ballot: Barbara Comtois and Elaine Swinford.

The only Democratic primary election is in District 3, the city of Laconia, where there are five Democratic candidates for four places of the general election ballot: Charlie St. Clair, Tom Dawson, Tony Felch, David Huot and Liz Merry.

There are Republican primary elections for two of the three seats on the Belknap County Convention. In District 2, which includes Barnstead, Belmont, Gilmanton and Tilton, there are two candidates: Richard Burchell and Glen Waring. In District 3, which incudes Alton, Gilford, Meredith and Center Harbor, there are two candidates: Hunter Taylor and John Smolin.

The candidates in the Republican primary election for Belknap County Sheriff are Mike Moyer and William Wright.

POLLING PLACES AND HOURS:

Alton: Prospect Mountain high School, 242 Suncook Valley Road, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ashland: Ashland Elementary School, Highland Street, 8 a.m. to 7 p,m,
Belmont: Belmont High School, 255 Seavey Road, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bristol: Marian Center, 17 W. Shore Road, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Canterbury: Old Town Hall, 11 Center Road, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Center Harbor: Center Harbor Town Office, 36 Main St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Franklin, Ward 1: Thompson Hall, 47 S. Main St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Franklin, Ward 2: City Hall, 216 Central St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Franklin, Ward 3: Franklin Middle School, 200 Sanborn St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Gilford: Gilford Community Church, 19 Potter Hill Road, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Gilmanton: Gilmanton Academy Building, 503 Province Road, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Laconia, Ward 1: Belknap County Nursing Home, 30 County Drive, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Laconia, Ward 2: St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall, 12 Gilford Ave., 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Laconia, Ward 3: Laconia Middle School, 150 McGrath St., 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Laconia, Ward 4: New Covenant Christian Church, 31 Lindsay Court, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Laconia, Ward 5: Woodland Heights Elementary School, 225 Winter St, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Laconia, Ward 6: Leavitt Park Clubhouse, 334 Elm St., 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Loudon: Loudon Fire Department, 7 Cooper St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Meredith: Meredith Community Center, 1 Circle Drive, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Moultonborough: Moultonborough Public Safety Building, 1035 Whittier Highway, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Northfield: Pines Community Center, 61 Summer St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sanbornton: Old Town Hall, 4 Meetinghouse Road, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sandwich: Sandwich Town Hall, 8 Maple St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tilton: Winnisquam High School, 435 W. Main St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wolfeboro: All Saints Church, 258 S. Main St., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Man who allegedly stole car deemed incompetent

LACONIA — The case against a Belmont man who was charged with stealing a woman's Jeep on July 12 by telling her he had a gun on Lyford Street has been dismissed.

Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill agreed with the defense and the prosecution that Ronald Johnson, of or formerly of 40 Prescott Hill Road, was unable to fully understand the charges and assist his attorney in his own defense.

The agreement and subsequent ruling came after a report prepared by a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist from the Department of Corrections Office of the Forensic Examiner that said Johnson was incompetent and unrestorable.

By the terms of an agreement on file with the court, O'Neill agreed with the prosecution that Johnson is not required to remain in custody for evaluation to commitment to a secure facility.

– Gail Ober

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