August 27, 2013

New England Dispatches

ATTLEBORO, Mass.

Hernandez friend's case likely to move to trial court

The district court case against an associate of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has been continued.

Prosecutors and Ernest Wallace's defense attorney agreed during a brief proceeding in Attleboro on Monday to schedule the next district court hearing for Sept. 23. But Wallace was indicted last week and his case is expected to be moved to superior court, the trial court, before then.

Police have said Wallace and another man were with Hernandez at the time 27-year-old Odin Lloyd was killed.

Wallace was indicted Thursday on a charge of being an accessory to murder after the fact. He pleaded not guilty earlier in district court to the same charge and was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Man arrested for burglary on 1763 mansion property

Police in Portsmouth, N.H., say a man smashed a window to break into a warehouse on the property that once belonged to a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The burglar alarm sounded around midnight Monday at the Moffatt-Ladd House. Police later arrested 23-year-old Thistleton Robertson IV for burglary.

The Portsmouth Herald reported during his arraignment, Robertson said he was intoxicated and broke into the home because he was running away from two people. He said he works as an engineer for New York City's Department of Environmental Protection and was visiting his girlfriend in Kittery, Maine.

The Moffatt-Ladd House, a Georgian mansion built in 1763, was the home of merchant William Whipple, one of the three New Hampshire signers of the Declaration.

BOSTON

First case of West Nile virus confirmed in state this year

Massachusetts health officials say they have confirmed the first case of West Nile virus in the state this season.

The health department said Monday that a Plymouth County man in his 70s has the mosquito-borne illness and is recovering in a hospital.

There were 33 cases of West Nile in the state last year and at least one person with an underlying medical condition died.

Symptoms of the virus are fever and flu-like illness.

PLYMOUTH, Mass.

Nuclear plant back online following electrical repairs

The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth is back online after repairs to the electrical system that runs pumps to supply cooling water to the reactor core.

A spokeswoman for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station's owners said the plant was reconnected to the regional power grid at 1:47 p.m. Monday. The system had been manually shut down Thursday morning.

The company said plant technicians replaced a breaker and corrected a ground fault on a solenoid associated with the water cooling circuitry. They also performed other maintenance that can't be done when the plant is operating.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and plant operators said last week there was no threat to public safety. Pilgrim owner Entergy said backup pumps automatically activated and plant systems performed as designed.

DURHAM, N.H.

UNH creates professorship in sustainable food systems

The University of New Hampshire has a new professorship devoted to food sustainability issues.

Joanne Burke, clinical associate professor of nutrition, is the first Thomas W. Haas professor in sustainable food systems at UNH.

Her primary responsibility will be to advance the mission of Food Solutions New England. The organization is a regional network dedicated to advancing a sustainable New England food system. Its vision calls for the region to build the capacity to produce up to 70 percent of its food in ways that are environmentally and socially sustainable and promote health by 2060.

Burke has experience in community nutrition and dietetics education with an emphasis on food system sustainability.

The professorship was established earlier this year with a $1 million gift to the Sustainability Institute at UNH from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. It was generated from a fund established by Durham philanthropist Tom Haas.

HAMPTON, N.H.

Fire captain responds to blaze at his own home

A fire department captain in Hampton, N.H., had to respond to a fire at his own home.

Capt. David Mattson was working when multiple calls came in early Sunday for a fire at his ranch-style house.

Firefighters said fire alarms woke up four people inside the home, who got out safely and were treated for minor smoke inhalation at a hospital. The home suffered a lot of damage and is unlivable.

The fire is still under investigation. It appears to have started at the rear of the house, where an addition was put on two years ago.

"It didn't even feel like it was happening. It felt like a dream because my house is on fire right now," Mattson told WMUR-TV. "There's a whole different world of thoughts running through your head."

CONCORD, N.H.

State police getting grant to speed DNA processing

New Hampshire State Police are getting a $250,000 federal grant to help process DNA samples more quickly and efficiently in criminal investigations.

The grant, administered by the National Institute of Justice, is part of the agency's DNA Backlog Reduction Program, which seeks to reduce DNA sample turnaround time.

In New Hampshire, the funding will allow the department's forensics lab to buy new equipment and materials to help process DNA samples.

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, who announced the grant Monday, said New Hampshire's turnaround time ranks among the fastest in the country.

The lab will be able to process and return DNA tests within three to four weeks, down from past years when the turnaround time reached several months.

"It's important to get these results to investigators quickly so they can move forward," said Tim Pifer, lab director. "It's a public safety issue, getting these suspects, these perpetrators off the street. This funding makes a big difference."

The grants, funded through the U.S. Department of Justice, are available to certain state and local governments looking to increase the capacity of their crime laboratories and DNA analysis systems.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Boy, 14, shot in shoulder as his mother drives car

A 14-year-old boy was shot in Providence while riding in a car driven by his mother.

Police told The Providence Journal that Sokphorn Khoy was driving her son, Bejan, and a 5-year-old daughter home from a party Sunday night.

After turning at an intersection, they heard booms and saw sparks. Police said someone fired several shots, one of which went through the trunk and into the back seat, where it hit the boy's shoulder.

He was taken to Hasbro Children's Hospital, where he was treated for what police said was a minor injury. Khoy and the girl were not hit.

Police told the Journal they found the bullet inside the car, and a police report said several shell casings were found on the pavement.

There have been no arrests.

COVENTRY, R.I.

Man charged with murder in fellow resident's death

A former resident of an assisted living center in Rhode Island has been indicted on a charge of murder after allegedly bludgeoning another resident to death.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced Monday that a statewide grand jury indicted Domenic Petrarca on a single count of murder.

The 55-year-old is accused of killing 61-year-old Joseph Costa in October. Both men were residents of Summer Villa Assisted Living Facility in Coventry.

Petrarca has been in custody since his arrest in October. Police have said the alleged assault was captured on video surveillance.

An arraignment on the charge has not been scheduled.

 

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