Memories probed; defense focuses on recollections of fatal fire

NEWPORT — Investigators of a deadly 1989 fire in Keene and a sister of the man accused of setting the fire were among witnesses who testified Wednesday during the third day of a pretrial hearing.

Michael Moore/Keene Sentinel

The week-long hearing in Sullivan County Superior Court allows attorneys for the prosecution and defense to present and argue several motions related to the case. The first three days focused primarily on a defense motion to dismiss the charges against 54-year-old David B. McLeod.

McLeod was charged last year with four counts of murder, in connection with the deaths of Carl R. Hina, 49, Lori M. Hina, 26, Lillian M. Hina, 4 months old, and 12-year-old Sara Jean, Carl Hina’s daughter from a previous marriage, in the Jan. 14, 1989, fire at 88 High St.
In the motion, McLeod’s public defenders Caroline L. Smith and Thomas A. Barnard argue that a more than two-decade delay between the fire and McLeod’s arrest has prejudiced his case and violated his right to due process. Continue reading

Accused murderer is fighting charges

NEWPORT — Witnesses to a deadly 1989 fire in Keene and a former prosecutor from the N.H. Attorney General’s Office took the stand Tuesday at a pretrial hearing in the case of the man accused of setting the fire.
Former Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter G. Beeson was the prosecutor assigned in January 1989 to investigate the apartment building fire at 88 High St. that killed Carl R. Hina, 49, Lori M. Hina, 26, Lillian M. Hina, 4 months old, and 12-year-old Sara Jean, Carl Hina’s daughter from a previous marriage.
In 1989, Beeson participated in a special grand jury session where he questioned five witnesses to the fire before deciding not to move forward with any indictments. He left the state agency in 1990. Continue reading

Hearing focuses on fatal ’89 fire

NEWPORT — A week-long pretrial hearing in the case of a man accused of setting a fire in Keene in 1989 that killed a family of four began Monday in Sullivan County Superior Court.

Attorneys for the prosecution and defense spent the day arguing a handful of motions in 54-year-old David B. McLeod’s case, which is scheduled to go to trial in October.

Michael Moore/Keene Sentinel

McLeod, who was arrested at his home in Sacramento, Calif., in June 2010, has been charged with four counts of murder in connection with the deaths of Carl R. Hina, 49, Lori M. Hina, 26, Lillian M. Hina, 4 months old, and 12-year-old Sara Jean, Carl Hina’s daughter from a previous marriage. They died in a fire at an apartment building at 88 High St.

In court, McLeod sat next to his public defenders, Caroline L. Smith and Thomas A. Barnard, wearing a blue button-down shirt and khaki pants, his graying beard trimmed close. He took notes on a yellow legal pad throughout the day’s proceedings. Continue reading

Man in standoff faces murder charges

The man found in Gilsum Wednesday after a four-state search has been charged with murder and arson in New York in connection with a triple-fatal fire there.
Matthew Slocum, 23, was charged in New York Thursday night with three counts of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree arson and one count of second-degree arson, according to the Glens Falls (N.Y.) Post-Star. Friends of the three victims identified them as Slocum’s mother, stepfather and stepbrother, the paper said. Continue reading

Gilsum standoff ends without injury

Published July 14, 2011 12:15 p.m.

By Casey Farrar Sentinel Staff

GILSUM — A day-long Amber Alert across New England ended peacefully Wednesday night after a New York man wanted for questioning in a deadly fire there surrendered at a Gilsum home without incident.

Steve Hooper/Keene Sentinel

Matthew Slocum, 23, emerged from a home in Gilsum shortly after 10 p.m. and was escorted by officers to a waiting police cruiser, several hours after a patrolling trooper spotted his black Mustang parked in Gilsum.

New York and Massachusetts police issued the alert — a bulletin in suspected child-abduction cases — because it was believed Slocum abducted his son, 4-month-old Raymond Slocum, and the infant’s 25-year-old mother, Loretta Colegrove.

Slocum was arraigned this morning in the District Division of the 8th Circuit Court in Keene.

About 9:45 p.m., a barefoot Colegrove, carrying Raymond Slocum in her arms, appeared from the Gilsum home. The mother and infant were unharmed and were being taken to the N.H. State Police Troop C barracks in Keene, said State Police Col. Robert Quinn shortly after Slocum was arrested.

About 15 minutes before they appeared, police could be heard speaking to Slocum with a bullhorn, telling the man to answer a cell phone, that no one wanted to hurt him and asking him not to hurt anyone.

Lt. Chris Aucoin of N.H. State Police Troop B, who leads the state police SWAT team, said Slocum surrendered peacefully after successful negotiation. He declined to comment on whether police had talked to Slocum on the phone before his surrender. Continue reading

AG: Officer justified in Winchester shooting

Published July 8, 2011 12:15 p.m.

By Casey Farrar Sentinel Staff

The N.H. Attorney General’s Office says a Swanzey police officer was justified in using lethal force against a suicidal Winchester man armed with a knife on June 27.

The report released this morning provides details about how the authorities say the shooting death of Christopher D. Seksinsky, 39, unfolded in the man’s apartment at 35 Keene Road last week.

According to the report, Swanzey police Officer Robert Blodgett, a 25-year veteran who has been a full-time officer in Swanzey since 1994, was defending himself and three other officers from what he “reasonably believed was the imminent use of deadly force by Seksinsky.”

Blodgett fired one shot into the man’s upper left arm; the bullet entered Seksinsky’s arm and went into his chest, according to an autopsy report released by the N.H. Medical Examiner’s Office.

Here’s how the report describes the events, based on interviews with the officers involved and other witnesses, and a follow-up investigation by the N.H. State Police Major Crime Unit:

Seksinsky and his wife, Denise, were arguing about a family issue, and Christopher Seksinsky talked about throwing some of the couple’s belongings out the window and told his wife he would kill her, while holding a broken lamp.

Denise Seksinsky then noticed Seksinsky was holding a large kitchen knife — 13 inches, investigators later determined — as he sat on the couch in the apartment, she told investigators.

She tried to call a girlfriend, but Seksinsky threatened to grab the phone away from her.

Seksinsky had a history of mental illness, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Denise Seksinsky later told investigators. She said he’d seemed more stressed lately and had been out of work for the past two months. Continue reading