Laconia arrest warrant issued for man said to have shot at Meredith home

LACONIA — A former Lempster man who allegedly fired two bullets into the open doorway of Meredith home on July 26 waived his probable cause court hearing that was scheduled for yesterday morning at 8:30 a.m.

Jesse Lohman, 33, of 137 Charlestown Turnpike is charged with one count of felony reckless conduct for firing a handgun into the home of a couple on Corliss Hill Road, one count of being a felon in possession of a handgun and one count of receiving stolen property.

Laconia Police confirmed yesterday that they have obtained a warrant for Lohman's arrest for an incident on Pleasant Street five days before the shooting but said they are not sure if its been served yet or what the exact charge is. They said it's either an A-level misdemeanor for criminal trespass or a B-level felony for burglary.

Lohman remains in the Belknap County Jail on the Meredith charges and is being held on $100,000 cash-only bail.

The Daily Sun learned today that Lohman allegedly entered a home on Pleasant Street on July 21 and encountered the homeowner after he arrived home around 11 p.m.

"Every light in my house was on including the two on the front porch," the homeowner said, yesterday.

The man said Lohman was sitting on his porch using an extension cord to charge his cell phone. He said his rear door had been kicked in and Lohman told him he saw two "Oriental people with headbands" leave the house through a second-story window and he came over to see what was happening. Lohman had been staying in the home of a nearby neighbor of the victim.

"I parked my car in my driveway and this person (Lohman) came out of the shadows," said the victim who is a retired military officer who said he's not easily ruffled and knows how to calm agitated individuals.

He said one of Lohman's canvas type bags was in his home and two were on his porch along with a cell phone and a computer. He said nothing appeared to have been stolen but noted his television was unplugged and the cord was placed on top of it.

He noted that Lohman at times seemed agitated so he calmed him down and convinced him to go to the city police and report the allegedly burglary by the two Asians. He said they drove together in his car to the police station and Lohman occasionally mentioned that he needed to work on his own car — a Jeep.

"The Jeep is still there," said the victim yesterday, noting that it was as of Monday evening. The Daily Sun verified there is a black SUV sitting in the driveway of a home on nearby Oak Street that was inhabited by Lohman's friend — a man who would allegedly become a victim of Lohman's on the day of the Meredith shooting.

Yesterday, New Hampton Police Sgt. Michael Grier said Lohman and the second victim were together in New Hampton when they stopped to get something from a convenience store on Rte. 104.

Grier said Lohman was driving the second victim's Toyota RAV-4 because its owner has some health issues and couldn't drive it himself. He said the second victim went into the store around 9 a.m. on July 26 but when he exited the store his SUV and Lohman were gone.

He told police he waited for about a half of an hour and determined Lohman wasn't coming back. The victim made arrangements for someone else to come and get him in New Hampton and reported his RAV-4 stolen to New Hampton Police at 12:30 p.m.

Grier said the RAV-4 owner told them he and Lohman had just come from Bristol.

At 10:06 a.m. that same day Lohman went to the third and fourth victims' home in Meredith and inquired about a woman named Cassandra. After being told there was no Cassandra at that address, Lohman went to the RAV-4. The male victim went back into his home and, according to affidavits prepared by the Meredith Police Department, said he saw Lohman became agitated and throw his hands in the air.

When the male victim looked out his window, he told police he allegedly saw Lohman throw a knife out of the RAV-4 window and raise a black firearm, aiming it toward his home. He allegedly fired two rounds that pierced the screen door and the front door. At least one bullet lodged in a wall.

The male victim and his wife took cover and called 911. Meredith Police, assisted by Grier, Center Harbor Police and a N.H. State Trooper responded and took Lohman into custody without further ado.

Police allegedly found a 9 mm bullet, a cross-shoulder holster and a hypodermic needle with what they suspected to be methamphetamine on Lohman's person. A gun has been recovered.

Meredith Police took possession of the RAV-4, learned it had been reported stolen, and secured it. Affidavits said police obtained a search warrant and found magazines from a Glock 9 mm and some loose 9 mm rounds.

Meredith Lt. Keith True said yesterday that other items were recovered from the RAV-4 but declined to comment about what else was found, saying the investigation is ongoing.

During his custodial interview with police, Lohman allegedly admitted to being a drug addict who injected drugs. He also allegedly admitted to being a member of the Brotherhood of White Warriors — a prison gang — but gave no reason for his actions on July 26.

According to The Laconia Citizen, "Cassandra" is a real person who went to the 2nd Circuit Court, Plymouth Division on the day after the shooting and sought an emergency order of protection against Lohman with whom she has a child.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Meredith Police at 279-4561.

Muskrats hosting playoff game tonight

BURLINGTON, Vermont — Down 1-0 in a first round playoff series, the Laconia Muskrats return home to Robbie Mill Field tonight (6:30) to again face the Vermont Mountaineers. Vermont won the first of a best-of-three series here Monday afternoon, 13-2, so the Muskrats face elimination unless they win. A winner-take-all third game would be played back in Burlington on Tuesday night.

Burlington finished the regular season with a 25-16 record and sat atop the Northern Division standings of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Sanford (Maine) was two games back and North Adams (Mass.) and Laconia were tied for third with 21-21 records. The Mainers were given the higher seed because of head-to-head record.

Burlington and Laconia were on alternate courses at the end of the season. The Mountaineers won seven of their last 10 games and Laconia was 3-7 over that same span.

The good news for the Muskrats is left-handed ace Tim Viehoff (Southern N.H.) will be on the mound for game two. He had a 5-1 regular season record, backed by an admirable ERA of 1.77. Viehoff struck out better than one batter per inning, recording 58 strikeout in 51 innings pitched.

Burlington broke open a 4-2 game in the late innings on Monday, scoring 5 runs in the seventh and four in the eighth.

Brandyn Sittinger (Ashland U.) was the starter for Laconia and took the loss. He gave up seven earned runs over 6 1/3 innings.

Cather Chris Gaffney (N.C. Wilmington) paced the Laconia attack with three hits, including a double, and drove in a run. First baseman Cameron Hanley (Northeastern U.) accounted for two hits, also including a double, and accounted for the other RBI.

Laconia was only outhit 11-10.

Paid attendance was announced as 620.

Fire chief says Belmont now needs to replace 'Engine 2' before 'Tower 1'

BELMONT — Fire Chief David Parenti told selectmen last night that the department needs to replace "Engine 2" before it replaces the ladder truck that is on the 2016 capital improvement plan.

Parenti said the frame rails are rusted to the point where a local company was reluctant to perform pump repairs on it because they couldn't be sure the truck itself would last as long as the repairs.

A few years ago, said Parenti, the department  tried to get it refurbished but the company balked for fear the refurbishment costs would last longer than the engine and the rest of the drive train. He said it was $75,000 just to repair the frame rails and that didn't factor in the rust beneath the battery and the storage compartments.

All Parenti is really recommending is swapping the replacement schedule of "Tower 1" — the ladder truck — with "Engine 2." Last year, he had recommended "Tower 1" for a 2016 replacement and "Engine 2" for 2017 but that was before an independent examination revealed the rust problem on the engine. He said he will continue to recommend replacing the ladder truck in 2017 — likely with a used one.

"Engine 2" is a 1997 Pierce that was purchased new 18-years ago and ran as the primary or first-run engine for 13-years. Now it is a second-run engine in Belmont and the first engine to respond to mutual aid calls.

Parenti explained that typically a fire truck is a first-run engine for 10 years, a second-run engine for five years and a third or emergency engine used when the others are getting serviced or otherwise busy at a fire or multiple multiple incidents. The average life span of a fire engine is 20 to 25 years.

Selectman Jon Pike said he had recommended undercoating for the fire trucks but said that if the rust on "Engine 2" was this far gone, it may not of mattered in this case.

When asked, Parenti said he had been examining a lease-purchase arrangement for a new fire engine and will present the selectmen with more information at an upcoming meeting. Personally, he said he thought it was a good idea and many fire departments are using lease-purchases for their large equipment replacements.

The Belmont Police and the Department of Public Works are also using lease-purchases for some of their automotive equipment.

The problem for the Fire Department is that it holds ambulance revenues in a separate account that is used for large equipment replacement. Each year there is a warrant article at Town Meeting for use of the so-called "Comstar" account. If the voters choose to defeat one year of the lease-purchase, the town faces the distinct possibility that the truck goes back to the leasing company for lack of payment.

Conversely, if the general appropriations account is used, the annual cost of the lease is factored into the default budget, should the voters chose not to pass the requested budget. This means the annual lease payment will be included in general appropriations and not as a separate warrant article.

In other Belmont news, Town Clerk Tax Collector Cynthia DeRoy said the town will soon be able to register boats as do other towns and cities in the state. She said a transaction fee of $5 will come to the town as revenue and will add slightly to the $22,000 average annual revenue for boat registrations either done at marinas or through the state.

DeRoy said she is also looking into the benefits of allowing town residents to pay their taxes and vehicle registrations with a credit card. She said most other communities allow this already but there are some legal aspects that her and Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin must review with town counsel before making a final recommendation to the selectmen.

Sen. Shaheen & Gov. Hassan join Laconia Judge Jim Carroll in calling for increased funding for programs aimed at people with addictions to heroin

LACONIA — Presiding 4th Circuit, Laconia Division Judge Jim Carroll welcomed U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Governor Maggie Hassan, N.H. Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau and a host of local and state dignitaries in his courtroom yesterday for a discussion and brief press conference about heroin use and the benefits of Recovery Court.

Carroll, who along with volunteers from Public Defenders Office, the Restorative Justice Office, Horizons Counseling, the Belknap County Attorney and local police, created Recovery Court — the first and only type of court in the state operated at the circuit court level.

"I recently saw that a young man who I coached in (youth) baseball and basketball had died of an overdose," Carroll said, adding the death of this man was the second death of person he had coached who has died of a drug overdose.

The next class begins in November, he said, but he told the invitees that "there's no money". He said his continued optimism is like that of the hero of the classic movie "Field of Dreams" — if we build it, they will come.

The local Recovery Court has almost no budget and the people involved are volunteering their time.

Recovery Court is an alternative to incarceration whereby the defendant pleads guilty to an underlying criminal offense but doesn't serve the time unless he or she fails. Acceptance into Recovery Court is at the discretion of the county attorney often as part of a negotiation with the defense attorney. Once accepted, defendants are expected to undergo intense therapy, admit that drugs have brought them to where they are today, perform 300 hours of community service, report regularly to the jail for drug testing, attend either NA or AA, and gradually pay the costs of their participation. A failure means the defendant goes to jail for the crime for which he or she pleaded guilty.

People who have committed violent crimes against other people are not eligible for Recovery Court.

While everyone in attendance agreed the Recovery Court — as well as other so-called drug courts in the United States — should be funded, none of the legislative attendees offered much hope of money for these types of programs.

Hassan said that as a society and a government we are responsible to think about all of the people who are affected by heroin.

"It threatens our families and our safety," she said, calling attention to the fact that in 2014 more young people in New Hampshire have died from drug overdoses than in car accidents.

She also took the opportunity to "urge" the state Legislature to accept expanded Medicaid that could bring $5.7-million in federal money to New Hampshire, some of which will be used for a "drug court" in Hillsborough County and some of which would be dedicated to new drug treatment and mental health programs that she said the state desperately needs.

"It's sad were are here for the reason we are here," said Shaheen.

She said that while the whole state is in "crisis", the challenges in Belknap County are acute. However, every police chief she's spoken with agrees that "we cannot arrest or way out of the problem."

Shaheen added that drug courts (recovery courts) can work if there is are treatment and mental health facilities available. She also bemoaned the fact that a subcommittee in Congress voted to reduce the SAMHSA allocation for the next fiscal year and a different subcommittee voted to make cuts to community-oriented policing.

She called the cuts "penny-wise and pound-foolish" because if the problem isn't addressed as soon as possible, in the long run more and more people will become incarcerated, which costs the country about $20,000 per person more than treatment programs.

Nadeau noted that people who get treatment in Stafford County's recovery program have about a 25-percent crime recidivism rate while people who leave prison with no recovery or treatment program have about a 75-percent recidivism rate.

"Addiction is a medical and mental health illness, not a weakness in character," Nadeau said.

"We aren't Democrats or Republicans. We are all human being and some have a sickness," said Carroll. "(They are) sick and they have the right to expect clinical and therapeutic services to help them become more productive."