Coelho

Belknap County Attorney Andrew Livernois, standing, and defense attorney Jennifer Cheno and her client Thomas Coelho Jr., look over photographs of weapons that were seized during a search of Coelho's apartment. A probable cause hearing into firearms violation charges against Coelho halted suddenly on Tuesday when the attorneys argued over the admissibility of some photographic evidence. (Michael Mortensen/Laconia Daily Sun)

LACONIA — A probable cause hearing of a Laconia man being held on $50,000 cash bail after being arrested on multiple counts of illegal possession of firearms was halted when prosecution and defense attorneys argued over the admissibility of certain photographic evidence.

Thomas R. Coelho, 39, of 26 Strafford St., Apt. B, in Laconia has been held at the Belknap County Corrections facility since being arrested on June 13, when police searched the apartment and found an AK-47 assault rifle, four handguns, and a set of metallic knuckles.

The search occurred the day after police were sent to the address to deal with the report of domestic disturbance and criminal threatening. At that time police found a long rifle in a bedroom which was turned over to police by Katelyn Stimson, one the apartment’s residents at the time.

Cuelho was ultimately charged with six counts of being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon, in addition to breach of bail conditions, criminal threatening and resisting arrest.

Cuelho appeared in Belknap Superior Court Tuesday with his lawyer for a probable cause hearing before Judge James D. O’Neill III.

Two Laconia police officers testified about what they did and saw when they went to the apartment on June 12 and 13. Patrolman Bryan Moynihan testified that during the search they found weapons, ammunition, and firearms accessories under the bed, in a bureau, and in the bedroom closet. Master Patrol Officer Michelle Cardinal told the court that while police were still on the scene a neighbor witnessed a man jumping out of a second-story window and running away. Cuelho was apprehended later wearing only a pair of shorts.

County Attorney Andrew Livernois offered as evidence several pictures of the weapons seized during the search. He said he expected that the defense would try to argue that the weapons belonged to Stimson and not to Cuelho.

But when Livernois tried to introduce a screenshot of Stimson’s Facebook page and a photocopy of a Laconia Police document which included a photo of Coelho taken during the booking process, defense attorney Jennifer Cheno objected, arguing that allowing those items into evidence would violate her client’s  rights.

After listening to Livernois and Cheno argue back and forth about that photographic evidence, O’Neill cut the proceeding short and gave the attorneys until today to submit a summary of their respective arguments in writing. O’Neill said that after he read their memoranda, he would set a date for the hearing to resume.

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