LACONIA — For the third time in five months, a Superior Court judge has given prosecutors more time to indict Hassan Sapry, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Wilfred Guzman.
Judge James D. O’Neill III gave prosecutors until March 19 to formally accuse Sapry in the death of Guzman, who died from “blunt and sharp-force trauma,” according to the charging document filed shortly after his arrest on April 26.
Since then, Sapry has been held without bail in the Belknap County jail. He pleaded not guilty to the charge on April 29, and in September he waived his right to a speedy indictment.
An indictment is not an indication of guilt. Rather, it is a finding by a grand jury that enough evidence of a possible crime exists to warrant bringing a case to trial.
Under state rules governing criminal cases, authorities have 90 days to bring formal charges against someone in custody unless a judge grants an extension.
The state Attorney General’s Office, which prosecutes homicide cases, obtained an extension on July 16, giving them until Sept. 19 to bring the indictment. The second extension, granted on Sept. 13, gave prosecutors until Dec. 5 to bring the formal charge.
In the latest extension, granted Dec. 4, prosecutors repeated what they stated in the Sept. 13 request, that the additional time was needed because “the defense is investigating certain issues in this case and once that is complete the [prosecution] believes that a follow-up investigation by [prosecutors] may be necessary in order to determine the direction that a trial in this case may go.”
In asking for the second extension in September, the AG’s office said it did so at the request of the defense.
A new motion in the case was filed last Friday, two days after the extension was granted. That motion has been sealed, and is shielded from public view. It is therefore unknown whether the motion was filed by the AG’s Office or by Sapry’s attorney, Mark Sisti.
The sworn statement that was filed to support Sapry’s arrest has also been sealed.
Police named Sapry as a person of interest in the case five days after Guzman’s body was discovered by an officer who went to his Blueberry Lane apartment for a welfare check at the request of a family member.
Second-degree murder is potentially punishable by life in prison.
Though confined indefinitely, Sapry reserved the right to ask the court to grant him a hearing, at which time his lawyer could ask that he be released on bail.