Crime

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New Hampshire's highest court says it will hear the appeal of a man convicted of killing an 18-year-old woman more than four decades ago.

Robert Breest has denied beating Susan Randall to death and tossing her partially nude body onto the frozen Merrimack River in Concord in February 1971. Now 77, Breest has twice been denied parole because he refuses to admit to the crime and take part in sex offender treatment. Instead, he has tried to clear his name through DNA testing.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office released new information Tuesday about four unidentified people found dead in 1985 and 2000 in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati announced the release of new composite images of the four victims that officials hope will make it easier to identify them. Agati also released new information about where the victims -- one adult woman and three children -- likely lived. 

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Police in Portsmouth are reminding residents about the dangers of a number of telephone scams. 

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For the first time in decades, court-appointed lawyers who represent the poorest  clients will get a raise.

The raise from $60 to $100 dollars an hour would apply only to major crimes that take hundreds of attorney hours, like capital murder, and felonious sexual assault. The maximum fee cap for those crimes will also increase from $4,100 to $8,000.

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This week, a federal judge sentenced peanut executive Stewart Parnell to 28 years in prison for his role in a deadly outbreak of salmonella…the first ever felony conviction for a food safety crime.  Today, we speak with the investigative reporter behind “Food Crimes” – a new video series examining everything from food borne illness, to the illegal saffron trade. Plus, a baffling new literary trend – why millions of Evangelical readers are snatching up Amish romance books.  

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As schools across the country struggle to meet the new national common core standards, one controversial aspect of education is not part of the curriculum: sex education. On today’s show: the evolving debate around sex ed, and why it’s not strictly an American phenomenon. Plus, from false confessions to inadequate defenses, wrongful convictions can happen for many reasons. We’ll look at faulty eyewitness testimonies, the number one contributing cause of wrongful convictions.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

Police are asking for the public's help in trying to find out how and why a woman was shot and killed as she went for a weekly walk in a Manchester neighborhood.

Authorities say 62-year-old Denise Robert was walking in the North End section of Manchester at about 9 p.m. Sunday, an area regarded as a safe neighborhood, when she was shot. There were reports of a pickup truck speeding away with a white man in his 20s or 30s wearing a white tank top and having close-cropped hair.

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A cousin of one of the world's most notorious drug lords who prosecutors say was working to distribute cocaine in the United States has been sentenced in a New Hampshire court to 16 years in federal prison.

Manuel Jesus Gutierrez-Guzman, cousin of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty in October to his role in a conspiracy to expand the reach of his cousin's drug empire into New England by distributing 1,000 or more kilograms of cocaine and other drugs. He was arrested in Spain in 2012.

Several hundred people attended a vigil in Barre Sunday to honor a Department for Children and Families social worker killed on Friday, apparently as the result of a child custody dispute.

Authorities believe three other apparent murders in Central Vermont are all connected to Jody Herring, the suspect in the Barre killing.

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Durham is the latest New Hampshire town to warn residents about a telephone scam in which callers tell residents they owe the government back taxes.

Police in Durham say several residents have received the calls, in which an individual claims to work for the Internal Revenue Service and demands payment of back taxes.

Authorities note the IRS contacts individuals about tax problems through the mail, not by phone, and that residents should report suspicious phone calls to law enforcement.

The Shame Show

Jul 29, 2015

From Hester Prynne’s Scarlet Letter to stockades in the town square, public shaming has deep roots in America. Today on Word of Mouth: humiliation hits the 21st century.  

The Technicality Show

Jul 27, 2015

We’ve all heard of a guilty person getting acquitted of crime because of a “technicality”.  What happens when a law professor discovers a judicial loophole that could make for the perfect crime? On today’s show, it’s all about the technicalities, the loopholes, artful dodges and escapes. From how to get away with murder, to how to turn the lights off when your religion prohibits it. Plus, the most expensive typo in American legislative history.

Updated at 2 a.m. ET

Lafayette, La., Police Chief Jim Craft said a gunman opened fire in a movie theater during a Thursday night screening of Trainwreck.

Craft said the gunman killed two people and wounded seven others before shooting and killing himself. At least three of the wounded remain in critical condition.

Police said they have identified the shooter but are not yet releasing his name. He was described as a 58-year-old white male armed with a handgun. Law enforcement officials said the gunman was attending the movie alone.

Giving Matters: Giving Kids A Second Chance

Jul 18, 2015

The Community Alliance Family Services is a Newport-based non-profit dedicated to supporting individuals and families in maintaining their independence. The organization’s Juvenile Court Diversion Program gives young people the opportunity to learn from, and make reparations for, their mistakes. By attending the program a juvenile offender avoids having the crime added to his/her permanent record. 

7.19.15: The Museum Show

Jul 17, 2015
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Most high stakes crimes require skill, bravado and planning…but few stir the public imagination or require the meticulous efforts of fine art frauds. Word of Mouth goes behind the scenes of the museum world, starting with a story about the extreme lengths art forgers will travel to dupe their marks. Then we take a look at the many dangers art can face….inside the museum. And, museums use digital and forensic technology to solve complicated art mysteries. Sometimes, it’s just old fashioned detective work…we’ll talk to a costume historian and dress detective about her work here in New Hampshire. Join us for a day at the museum.

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Just about every creation of comedian Bill Cosby's has become radioactive in light of accusations of rape and assault by nearly 50 women. Yet, only one of those alleged assaults can still be prosecuted, due to statute of limitation laws that prevent older cases from going to trial. On today's show, we talk about statute of limitation laws, to better understand the sexual assault cases against Bill Cosby. Then, a look at the first use of the "PMS Defense" in a court of law. And finally we discuss how for one woman, party crashing led to a career as a writer, talk show host, and activist -- but for another type of crasher, the story takes a much different turn.

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Fifty-five years ago, Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird gave the nation a glimpse of the deep south. Soon afterwards the author and the town that inspired the classic book disappeared from public imaginations. Today, we take a look at the conflicted history of a town that produced two great American authors. Then, the skill, planning, and access required to successfully dupe the art world easily captivates the public imagination. We’ll explore the meticulous effort behind some of the greatest art frauds. And, few people realize the danger works of art can face while safely housed inside a museum – from docents.

Courtesy of the Glessner House Museum in Chicago.

About seventy years ago, a North Country woman was one of the earliest proponents of forensics and an  analytical approach to crime investigation best known to many from the television program CSI. 

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“Birthday suit”, “in the buff”, “wearing nothing but a smile.” Call it what you will, on today’s show we’ll strip bare the American nudism movement and we’ll explore the progressive-era origins and continuing tensions over what it means to take it all off.

Then, we’ll hear about two young men who embarked on a bold crime spree, stealing thousands in gold and weapons. The hitch? It all went down in a video game. 

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The state Attorney General's office is encouraging police departments statewide to adopt a new model policy on eyewitness identification procedures.

The policy was crafted in partnership with the Innocence Project, an organization that works to reverse wrongful convictions. Suspect misidentification is the most common contributor to wrongful convictions in cases where DNA evidence has exonerated someone, officials say.

thisweekinraymond.com

The city of Manchester could soon have a new police chief.

The Union Leader reports Mayor Ted Gatsas has nominated Assistant Police Chief Nick Willard to lead the department.

If aldermen approve the nomination, Willard would replace Chief David Mara, who announced earlier this month that he will retire at the end of June.

If he gets the job, Willard has already agreed to move to the city within 180 days.

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State officials say the latest phone scam to target New Hampshire residents includes fraudulent threats to shut off utility service. 

The Public Utilities Commission and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office say a number of consumers have received calls in which individuals claim to represent a utility. They claim the resident must immediately pay off a past due balance on his or her account or service will be disconnected. 

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Serving today’s ultra-rich may not be so much about finicky Downton Abbey-esque table settings, but it often involves lots of unexpected duties. On today’s show, we’ll talk to a writer who enrolled at the nation’s foremost “Butler Boot Camp,” where students learn to navigate the whims and habits of today’s elite. Then, the story of Sylvester Graham and his signature snack: the graham cracker, which was borne out of philosophy that promoted chastity, temperance, and the prohibition of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and spices. All of which could excite our animal desires. 

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It was a long hard winter – but temperatures are finally climbing and bird song is erupting across New Hampshire. Today is Bird Day and we’ll talk about the sounds of spring migration – and hear how you can keep traveling birds from flying into your windows. Plus, an amateur photographer and creator of the #WorstBirdPic Meme comes to terms with the fact that 99% of his bird photos are blurry.

And two spring traditions come together in a new project that’s just sprouted at Fenway Park: an organic rooftop garden. 

Court officials confirm a New Hampshire defendant awaiting a jury's verdicts in a trial on multiple counts of sexual assault on a minor shot himself outside the Rockingham County Superior Courthouse. 

Authorities say 75-year-old John Goodwin, a longtime piano teacher in Atkinson, went on trial earlier this week on six counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. Prosecutors say he repeatedly sexually assaulted a student who is now 24. He pleaded not guilty. 

Court officials say the jury was deliberating when Goodwin shot himself Friday morning. 

The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered the extradition of two men to New Hampshire to face charges in the deaths of two Nashua women nearly 27 years ago.

The Canadian Press reports the justices ruled Thursday on Anthony Barnaby and David Caplin.

The men are Canadian Micmac Indians who were working construction in Nashua when 48-year-old Charlene Ranstrom and 32-year-old Brenda Warner were bound, beaten and stabbed to death in their home in October 1988.

Police said new DNA evidence and witnesses justify extradition.

Aaron Hernandez, whose rise to elite status in the NFL was ended by charges that he shot and killed a man, has been found guilty of first-degree murder. In 2013, Hernandez was accused of killing the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister.

The verdict comes on the seventh day of a jury's deliberations on counts that ranged from murder to gun and ammunition charges. As the findings were read in a Fall River, Mass., courtroom, Hernandez sat between his lawyers and occasionally shook his head.

Keene Police Department

Keene police have arrested a man they say fired a gun during a domestic dispute Wednesday morning, prompting a lockdown at nearby Keene State College and Wheelock School.

Tyler Day, 22, is facing five felony charges, including reckless conduct and criminal threatening, as well as three misdemeanors. He is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at Keene district court.

Police say they responded to the area of Proctor Court around 9:30 Wednesday morning for a report of a domestic disturbance.

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Investigators with the Attorney General's office say three people killed in Bedford over the weekend were likely victims of a murder-suicide. 

Assistant Attorney General Jay McCormack says police responded to a 911 call from Alexey Obukhov.  He reported the death of 34  year old  Nina Obukhov.

Bedford Police later discovered two other victims: the Obukhovs' children Katherine and Elizabeth, ages 8 and 6.

Jesús Perera Aracil via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/49YiYx

Across the world more than 750 million people lack access to safe drinking water, and at least two billion don’t have proper sanitation. On today’s show, we’ll look at a project aiming to solve both problems by turning waste into drinkable water. And why disgust may prevent it from becoming a reality.

Then, we investigate a problem facing many American workers: food theft. We’ll find out why some people feel it’s ok to steal treats from the office fridge. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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