Convicted Murderer's Request for Lighter Sentence Denied

May 10, 2016

Eric Windhurst walks into the Hooksett District Court in 2005, charged with the shooting death of Danny Paquette.
Credit Associated Press

A murderer seeking to have his prison sentence reduced to the 10 years he has already served has had his request denied by a New Hampshire judge.

Eric Windhurst was 17 when he fatally shot a friend's stepfather, Danny Paquette, in 1985 after the friend told him Paquette had sexually abused her.

The killing went unsolved for two decades until Paquette's stepdaughter, Melanie Cooper, provided information leading to Windhurst's arrest in 2005.

Windhurst is from Hopkinton. He pleaded guilty to murder in 2006 and was sentenced to 15 to 36 years in prison.

Cooper's three- to six-year sentence for hindering apprehension was reduced to 15 months. She was released in March 2008.

Windhurst apologized during a hearing last month. Prosecutors and Paquette's family strongly oppose his release.