Federal prosecutors in the upcoming racketeering trial of Massachusetts’ reputed gangster Whitey Bulger (BUHL’-jur) want to do criminal background checks on potential jurors.
In a court filing Thursday, prosecutors cited the case of convicted killer Gary Sampson, who was sentenced to death for carjacking and killing two Massachusetts men and was also convicted of killing a New Hampshire man during a 2001 crime spree. Sampson’s sentence was set aside by a judge who found that one juror repeatedly answered questions about her life dishonestly.
Prosecutors said conducting background checks will help determine whether potential jurors have truthfully answered questionnaires and minimize the chance of a mistrial.
The former leader of the Winter Hill Gang is scheduled to go on trial next month. An indictment accuses him of participating in 19 murders.
Several dozen states are looking for an alternative to the GED test because of concerns that a new version is more costly and will no longer be offered in a pencil and paper format.
Forty states have participated in a group that’s considering options for the high school equivalency test. New York, Montana and New Hampshire announced last month they are switching to test providers that offer a cheaper alternative to the GED. Missouri also has requested bids.
At $120, the new GED that debuts in January is double the cost of the current test. Several states subsidize some or all of the expense, but the student share is expected to rise.
GED officials say the new test is cheaper to administer and is changing because of tougher state standards.
Police say they’ve got the $3,200 engagement ring a New Hampshire man allegedly swallowed during an attempted jewelry store theft.
Authorities charged 52-year-old Ronald Perley with theft and falsifying physical evidence after they say X-rays showed the 14-karat white-gold ring with princess-cut diamonds inside him.
WMUR-TV reports Manchester police had recovered the ring as of Saturday.
Perley allegedly went into Bellman’s Jewelers on Thursday asking about engagement rings. Workers said he grabbed a ring then swallowed it after being confronted.
Police say surveillance footage shows Perley taking the ring and putting his hand to his mouth.
Perley was being held on $50,000 bail. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.
Maine’s Marine Patrol has cited a New Hampshire man for having tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of baby eels without a license in what’s being called the biggest case of illegal eel possession in the history of the fishery.
Officials said Monday that 41-year-old Phillip Parker, of Candia, N.H., was summonsed last Wednesday in Newport with 41 pounds of eels, known as elvers. Fishermen have been getting about $2,000 per pound for their catch this season.
Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher says Parker faces up to a $2,000 fine if guilty. He says a bill now before the Legislature would make illegal possession of elvers a criminal offense, rather than a civil violation, to provide an added deterrent.
A phone number under Parker’s name could not immediately be found.
A New Hampshire man who took hostages at a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign office six years ago has been arrested after he walked away from a minimum-security correctional facility, authorities said.
Leeland Eisenberg, 52, was arrested by Manchester police without incident on Monday, state Department of Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons said. He will be charged with escape, MyFoxBoston.com reports.
Eisenberg was missing from his room during a head count Sunday at the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit in Manchester. In 2010, he was sentenced to up to 7 years for probation violations. He would have been eligible for parole in August.
Eisenberg spent roughly two years behind bars for the siege at Clinton’s Rochester campaign office in which he claimed to have a bomb. No one was hurt and the bomb turned out to be road flares.
Eisenberg cut off a monitoring device and escaped for one day in 2010 and he also disappeared from a Massachusetts prison in 1986 shortly after being convicted of rape. While on the run, he raped another woman and was locked up until 2005, MyFoxBoston.com reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Odds are you won’t get a cab in New Hampshire’s largest city after police sidelined all 18 licensed taxis for inspection failures or failing to show up for inspection.
Seventeen cabs in Manchester were cited for mechanical violations. The 18th was sidelined for failing to show up.
Police Lt. Maureen Tessier said Tuesday six of the 18 cabs had such severe defects including conditions that could compromise their brakes inspectors pulled their registrations and they had to be towed.
Queen City Taxi has surrendered its operating permits to the city clerk’s office. The taxi that wasn’t inspected belongs to Manchester Taxi Dispatch. The companies haven’t commented.
Tessier says officials appreciate the inconvenience to those among the city’s 110,000 residents who rely on taxis and will work with the companies to get the taxis back on the road.
The National Guard mistakenly sent out furlough notices to Guard members in 22 states, despite the Pentagon’s decision on Thursday to delay the notification of unpaid time off for two more weeks.
The Defense Department initially said it would be sending furlough notices to the bulk of its 800,000 civilian employees at the end of this week because of automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1. The Pentagon delayed the notices for two more weeks after Congress passed legislation moving some of the money around.
Officials are working with the states to get the notices rescinded.
The states are Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virgin Islands, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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A bus driver who admits sexually assaulting and videotaping the special needs children he transported in New Hampshire and Maine has been sentenced to 160 years in prison.
Forty-six-year-old Milton, N.H., resident John Wright received the maximum sentence Friday after pleading guilty in September to five counts of sexually exploiting children and one count of possessing child pornography.
Investigators say Wright drove special needs children from Strafford and Rockingham counties in New Hampshire and from nearby Kittery, Maine. They say they found thousands of images of child pornography on his computer.
U.S. Attorney John Kacavas say some of the children were completely non-verbal and others had a variety of disabilities. He says it’s beyond his capacity to achieve justice for the young victims despite Wright’s long sentence.
Someone tell these black bear cubs they should be hibernating.
When a bad year for feeding followed a good one for breeding, Ben Kilham, New Hampshire’s only licensed bear rehabilitator, found himself spending the winter with 27 lively and orphaned cubs — a huge jump from the three to five he typically sees.
“We didn’t know what to expect as they kept coming in,” Kilham said. “It was every week or twice a week we were getting calls, ‘We’ve got a group of cubs,’ then ‘another group of cubs.’”
Kilham keeps the cubs in an 8-acre enclosed forest behind his house until spring, when he works with the state Fish and Game Department to release them in remote locations. Normally, the bears sleep all winter, but not this bunch.
“They’ve managed to keep themselves awake,” he said. “There’s always somebody who stirs up somebody else, and pretty soon, everybody’s up.”
For a while, Kilham tried withholding food in hopes that the bears would sleep, but that didn’t work.
“They just roto-tilled the pen,” he said. “It was obvious that they were seeking food, so we just gave up and started going back once a day feeding them.”
Staying awake all winter won’t hurt the bears any, he said, and if anything, they are better off having spent the winter in a large group. With just a few cubs, it was common for one to pace back and forth near the fence, Kilham said. But none of the current cubs are showing that kind of anxiety.
“They’re just one big happy family, they roam around, play with each other,” he said. “They are very, very happy as a big social unit.”
Andy Timmins, the bear project leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, said officials were expecting more orphaned cubs than usual but were surprised at just how many turned up.
“It was like nothing we’ve ever seen. A high year in the past was maybe, seven or eight bears,” he said. “It was a very challenging year, for sure, and we’re not done yet. I’m absolutely positive there will be more showing up this spring as a result of these conditions last year.”
The bumper crop of cubs can be traced to a two-year swing in the bears’ food supply. Younger female bears often don’t give birth during leaner years, but with an abundance of beechnuts, berries and other food in 2011, there was a baby boom. In 2012, however, dry conditions meant food was scarce, and bears were forced to venture into backyards for food. Sows that foraged for food in chicken coops and beehives ended up getting shot by property owners, leaving the cubs behind. That’s how 16 of the 27 cubs ended up with Kilham.
“The big wave of them came in June and July as a direct result of females getting shot in chicken pens,” Timmins said. “It was just bang, bang, bang, with calls coming in from people saying, ‘I just shot a bear, come and pick it up.’”
The state has a program to help landowners install electric fencing to protect their coops, he said, but many are unwilling to use it. And the law is on the side of property owners.
“We bend over backwards to help people with that problem, and we’d like to see a little more tolerance out there among the public towards wildlife that might be attracted to the chicken pen,” he said. “It’s an easy fix.”
“Once the bear’s in your chicken coop, the damage is done so there’s nothing gained by shooting the bear,” he said.
Kilham, who has been studying bears for more than 20 years, has produced and appeared in numerous documentaries and written two books about bear social behavior. The second, titled “Out on a Limb,” is due out this summer, and he’s also working on a doctoral degree in environmental conservation that builds on his work in China helping wildlife experts who are reintroducing pandas to the wild.
Back in Lyme, much of the day-to-day care of bears falls to Kilham’s sister, Phoebe, who said despite the added workload this year — which includes four sets of triplets — it’s not hard for her to keep track of so many bears. Some of them are named for the towns where they were found — there’s “Moultonborough One” and “Moultonborough Two” — while others have more whimsical such monikers as Clarkie, Big Girl and Slothy.
Clarkie is the group lookout and runs up to be fed first, she said. Others hang back and don’t eat until the Kilhams leave. And thanks to an outpouring of donations after a local television publicized the situation, they have plenty of dog food to keep everyone well-fed until spring.
“You get to recognize them by behavior as well as by sight,” she said. “We do pretty well. Some of those last triplets were hard to tell apart, but otherwise we do pretty well.”