Judge rejects Amy Lafond's request for early release from prison

LACONIA — Amy Lafond, who is serving time for her role in a 2013 traffic accident that took the life of one Laconia Miiddle School student and injured a second, has lost her bid to be let out of prison early and serve the balance of her sentence under house arrest.

Lafond was sentenced after pleading guilty to negligent homicide and second degree assault arising from the collision on Messer Street in April 2013. Driving a Jeep Cherokee north on Messer Street at excessive speed, Lafond, 54, passed a car stopped at the crosswalk at the foot of the bridge, whereupon her vehicle climbed the curb on the opposite side of the street and struck Lilyanna Johnson, who died, and Allyssa Miner.

In brief order issued earlier this month, Justice James D. O'Neill, III of Belknap County Superior Court denied Lafond's request to amend her sentence to enable her to qualify for administrative home confinement, which would have enabled her to undergo intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse.

In May 2014 Lafond was sentenced to three-and-a-half to seven years for negligent homicide and to three to six years, to consecutively, for second degree assault. She asked the court to suspend or defer the three-to-six-year sentence for second degree assault.

In opposing Lafond's petition, Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen said that reducing her sentence would undermine its "punitive aspect." Moreover, she called Lafond's request "untimely," explaining that she must serve at least four years — or two-thirds of her minimum sentence — before applying to amend her sentence.

O'Neill confirmed that the sentences are "appropriate" and stressed that "of equal import, the profound impact that the defendant's criminal actions had on the victims' families must be considered. Likewise, he agreed with Guldbrandsen that Lafond's request was untimely.

In her petition Lafond said that since September 2014 she has been in the Wellness Block, which she described as "an intense therapeutic residential community," where she has undergone mental health treatment and substance abuse rehabilitation as well as participated in technical classes, parenting education and a number of other programs.


Commissioner DeVoy hosting meet & greet for Ron Paul

TILTON — Belknap County Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy of Sanbornton will be hosting a casual lakeside meet and greet for Republican presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) on Saturday, July 25 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Attendees should park across from the Econo Lodge (formerly the Shalimar). They will see a white picket fence which is the entrance for parking.

DeBoy is Belknap County chairman for the Rand Paul campaign.


Late night ammonia leak affects only 1 Laconia residence

LACONIA — Firefighters called to the Laconia Ice Company at 45 Blaisdell Avenue at 12:20 a.m. early yesterday morning evacuated an area within a quarter-mile of the facility, which encompassed one residence, when they found anhydrous ammonia leaking from a 1,200 gallon tank.

The Fire Department was altered by a police officer who reported the suspicious odor and, after isolating the area, summoned the Central New Hampshire Hazardous Material Team. By the time the team arrived the venting of the tank had ceased and the escaped vapors had dissipated. The team tested the air quality and confirmed that a pressure relief valve on the tank had been activated by causes that remain under investigation.

Beattie said that ammonia vapors pose a risk to those who may be exposed to breathing them, but no one was affected during the incident. The evacuated buildings were reoccupied and the scene cleared at 4:30 a.m.