CONCORD, N.H. – A school district on Friday apologized for publishing yearbook photos of two students, one of whom was convicted on charges related to a fatal machete attack and another awaiting trial in the case.

The husband of Kimberly Cates wrote to school officials Thursday, saying the decision to include the young men’s photos in the yearbook was disrespectful.

David Cates called on the district to admit that an “extremely insensitive decision was made,” apologize to students “for leading them in the wrong direction” and then apologize to the community for an error in judgment.

Five men were charged in connection with the Oct. 4 death of Kimberly Cates and serious injury to her 11-year-old daughter Jaimie in their Mont Vernon home. Photos of two, William Marks and Quinn Glover, both 18 and from Amherst, appear in the Souhegan High School yearbook. Both were seniors.

Earlier this week, Superintendent Mary Jennings and other school officials said school policy allows material in the yearbook as long as it doesn’t cause disruptions at the school, and that the two teens were receiving educational services in jail.

“We want to say that we are extremely sorry that decisions made by our school have added to the pain and loss that Dave Cates and members of the community feel every day in relation to the death of Dave’s wife and harm to his daughter,” the statement issued by Jennings and Souhegan High School Principal Jim Bosman said.

Glover struck a plea bargain with prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation and pleaded guilty to felony charges of robbery, burglary and conspiracy. Marks has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges.

The killing stunned Mont Vernon, a rural town of about 2,000 residents near the Massachusetts border where Kimberly Cates, 42, worked as a nurse. Earlier this year, a community group helped residents deal with the release of court documents that described the crimes in graphic detail. The school district held forums for the students.

David Cates has commented very little about the crimes, but after the yearbook photos appeared, he sent copies of his letter to reporters Thursday night.

“Over the past several months the community has shown Jaimie and our family outstanding support and we sincerely appreciate it, but in this case, your team, a part of our community, really let us down,” he wrote. “The decision shows extremely poor judgment and calls into question your ability to make sound day-to-day decisions for the school district.”

Cates wrote that Jaimie is going to Souhegan High School in two years. “How can she have respect towards the administration when you were so disrespectful towards her mother’s memory?” the letter said.

He wrote, “Jaimie and our families will survive this ‘slap in the face,’ but I think the bigger picture is the message you sent to the students you are supposed to be serving by condoning the immortalization of these soulless young men this was at best a terrible and insensitive decision that has no excuse.”

The district’s statement Friday said, “We are committed to supporting Jaimie and her family through the remainder of her school years. The district has and will continue to offer assistance to the community at large to help cope with the tremendous loss caused by this tragedy.”

Glover was inside the house when Kimberly Cates was hacked to death with a machete and Jaimie was severely injured. Prosecutors said he did not participate in the attacks. He will serve at least 20 years for his role when he is sentenced.

Besides Marks, Steven Spader and Christopher Gribble have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges. If convicted at trial, they face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A fifth suspect, Autumn Savoy, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify for the state. He pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and conspiracy in exchange for a recommended sentence of five to 19 years in prison.


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