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Standoff sentence - Ernest Thompson II prompted SWAT action last May by threatening officer

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A man who fired a gun near a city police officer who was serving him with some paperwork, triggering a three-hour standoff with police and a SWAT team, will spend the next 2 ½ years in prison.

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Ernest Thompson II, 32, of or formerly of 246 Country Club Road in Laconia pleaded guilty to one count of criminal threatening with a gun and one count of reckless conduct with a gun.

By agreement, he was sentenced to serve 2 ½ to 7 years for threatening the officer. He was also sentenced 3 ½ to 7 years for firing the weapon, which was suspended. A charge of improperly influencing an officer by threatening harm was dropped by the prosecutor.

The incident began during the afternoon of Friday, May 13, when Thompson refused to allow a city police officer to serve him some paperwork. He returned into his home and came back out with a handgun, which he fired several times.

The officer returned to her cruiser and called for reinforcements, which came in the form of additional police from Laconia, Gilford, Belmont, the New Hampshire State Police and the Belknap Regional Special Operations Group.

Police surrounded the rather rural area and Thompson surrendered to them around 5 p.m.

In November 2015, Thompson threatened to kill firefighters who injected his wife with Narcan, an anti-opiate that reverses the effects of an opiate overdose. She later died.

Friends of Thompson told The Laconia Daily Sun that Thompson's wife was a diabetic and he felt the Narcan had killed her, but her medical condition could not be verified.

Thompson was sentenced to 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections for the criminal threatening, all of which was suspended pending his good behavior.

Exploding watercraft case stalls in court

By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A lawsuit charging that Irwin Marine was negligent in repairing a personal watercraft that later exploded, severely injuring the driver, remains stalled.

A jury was scheduled to hear evidence in the civil case this fall in Carroll County Superior Court, but a postponement was granted after the plaintiff's attorney was already booked to represent another client in a different case. Initially filed in Belknap County, the suit was transferred to the Ossipee court as a result of a judge's conflict.

In March 2015, Steven Mitton, and his wife, Madelyn, of Andover, Massachusetts, filed suit charging that he and his 8-year-old niece were both thrown from the red 1999 GSX Sea-Doo when it exploded as he was starting it on Lake Winnipesaukee in Moultonborough.

The suit alleges that Mitton hired Irwin Marine of Laconia to repair the early model personal watercraft the month before the incident, and that as part of the work a drive starter and exhaust gasket kit were installed.

Mitton's lawyer, Ron Wright of Derry, claims his client suffered fractures to his spine and a pelvic fracture, and was transferred to a Boston hospital for treatment. His niece sustained a head laceration, Marine Patrol reported following the Aug. 18, 2013, mishap.

In February, Judge Charles S. Temple granted Irwin Marine's request to appoint a lawyer to represent the plaintiff's son, Nicholas Mitton, based on the defendant's assertions that the younger Mitton was part owner of the boat, had performed maintenance on it prior to incident, and witnessed the alleged explosion.

The judge also appointed attorney Debra Mayotte of Manchester as a commissioner for the taking of a witness deposition, allowing her to question Nicholas Mitton, who also lives in Andover, Massachusetts, under oath.
The court additionally empowered Mayotte, who is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, to issue a subpoena to compel Nicholas Mitton to provide testimony.

The suit makes claims for negligence as well as loss of consortium, and is seeking unspecified monetary damages. If the case makes it to a jury, the trial is now scheduled to last five days, although a new start date has not been set.

The Marine Patrol impounded the watercraft following the incident and were going to have an expert examine the engine and other components as part of its investigation into what caused the accident.

"We're not speculating on the cause. We're in the preliminary stages of the investigation right now to determine what might have contributed whether a mechanical flaw, wear and tear, or if someone was irresponsible," Marine Patrol Sgt. Joshua Dirth said, 10 days after the incident.

LHS principal salary set

LACONIA — School Superintendent Brendan Minnihan said yesterday that he recommended that interim principal David Bartlett and interim assistant principal Jason Lonergan of Laconia High School be permanently placed in their positions as principal and assistant principal after determining "they are right people for the jobs." The School Board endorsed his recommendation this week.

Minnihan explained that when Jim McCollum suddenly resigned as principal of the high school in June, Bartlett his assistant principal was named interim principal and Lonergan, then assistant principal at Pennichuck Middle School in Nashua was hired as interim assistant principal to fill his shoes. Lonergan graduated from Laconia High School in 1997 and worked in the juvenile justice system before becoming a school administrator.

Bartlett will have a salary of $103,000 and Lonergan $92,000.

– Michael Kitch

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