Bolster pleads guilty in Chesterfield Gorge shooting
KEENE, N.H. -- A Hinsdale man admitted in court Wednesday to shooting a West Dover, Vt., man three times during an attempted robbery last year and will spend the next five to 10 years behind bars.
Neal R. Bolster, 22, pleaded guilty in Cheshire County Superior Court to one count of first-degree assault and one count of attempted robbery in the shooting of Christopher Bodisher, 30, in the Chesterfield Gorge parking lot on April 1, 2011.
After lengthy negotiations, charges of attempted murder, falsifying physical evidence and a second count of first-degree assault were dropped as part of a plea bargain.
Bolster addressed Judge John C. Kissinger, apologizing for shooting Bodisher and taking responsibility for his actions.
"I pray for Mr. Bodisher and his family every night," he said in a written statement, according to court documents. "I understand that there are consequences that I must have and one of them is going to prison for awhile."
Bolster appealed to Kissinger, asking for a shorter sentence than he had agreed to. He said his mother is in poor health and he needs to care for his young brother.
"I've already been in jail for over a year and a half and realize that my actions have affected not just myself but my family and Mr. Bodisher's family," he wrote. "I'm truely [sic] affected by this and would like to better my life and learn from this."
He wrote that he felt the amount of prison time he was facing was excessive because he didn't have a lengthy criminal record before this incident. Kissinger sentenced Bolster to no less than five and no more than 10 years in state prison for the assault charge and a suspended five- to 10-year stay in prison for the charge of attempted robbery.
According to the affidavit, on the evening of March 31, 2011, Bodisher had been in Brattleboro, Vt., with Bolster, Lamar Carter, of Brattleboro, and Kishawn Tyler, 19, of Bronx, N.Y. Bodisher told police they went to Keene and visited the Railroad Tavern.
Early in the morning of April 1, the four men left the tavern and drove back toward Brattleboro via Route 9, Bodisher said.
Bolster, who was later identified as the driver, pulled the car over at the parking lot of the gorge. According to the affidavit, Bodisher said that it "seemed to be a coordinated effort to rob him because he was grabbed from behind" while sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.
The driver pulled out a gun and pointed it at him, Bodisher told police. He said he was able to free himself and disarm the driver by slapping the gun out of his hands. Bodisher said the gun fell down below or between the seats and that he got out of the vehicle through the passenger front door.
Bodisher told police he "attempted to approach the driver of the vehicle to apply force in defense of his life as the driver had pulled the gun on him."
He said the driver shot him three times when he approached him. He described the gun as a black Beretta 9mm with a small barrel.
"Upon being shot, he ran away from the car and called 911 from his cell phone," according to the affidavit. "Bodisher said that he sent a text message after the 911 call to a female named Jennete, reporting that her people just tried to 'jux' him. Jux is defined as to 'rob.'"
But according to the affidavit, though Bolster admitted to being the driver and carrying the gun, he accused Tyler of firing the three shots that wounded Bodisher.
When first interviewed, Bolster told police that Tyler attempted to rob everyone in the car on the way back from Keene.
"He said that Kishawn pulled out a gun and ordered him to pull over, which he did, into the parking lot of the Chesterfield Gorge," wrote New Hampshire State Police Trooper Thomas Schutzius. "Bolster reported that the unknown black male (Bodisher) was seated in the front passenger seat, and exited the vehicle and fled on foot. He said that Kishawn was seated directly behind him, exited the vehicle with the gun, and shot several times at the unknown black male as the male was fleeting."
Bolster said that when he returned to the vehicle, Tyler ordered him to drive back to Brattleboro, drop him off and to not tell anyone about what had happened.
Detective Russell Lamson and Trooper Joseph Ebert re-interviewed Bodisher, who reiterated that he was positive that the assault was a "coordinated effort" involving the other three men in the vehicle and that the driver had shot him.
Troopers Schutzius and Eric Berube then re-interviewed Bolster.
"He now reported that the assault was a coordinated effort by all members of the vehicle except the unknown black male," according to the affidavit. "He said they had heard earlier that the new black male was a dealer of crack cocaine and that he was holding approximately 12 to 14 grams of crack and approximately four or five hundred dollars."
Bolster said he spoke with Carter and Tyler earlier in the evening and they all agreed to rob Bodisher, according to the affidavit. Bolster said that when Tyler ordered him to pull over, he pulled into the parking lot of the Chesterfield Gorge off Route 9. Bolster said he pulled out a black and gold semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at Bodisher and that Tyler pulled out a knife and held it to Bodisher's throat.
Bolster and Tyler told Bodisher that it was a robbery and to give up what he had on him. He said that Bodisher fought with them, breaking out of the hold, away from the knife and slapped at him and the gun.
Bolster told police that Tyler took the gun from him as Bodisher got out of the vehicle and fled.
"Bolster reported that he was about to exit the car to beat up (Bodisher) when Kishawn exited the car with the gun and shot several times at (Bodisher), hitting him multiple times," according to the affidavit.
Bodisher was transported via ambulance to Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, then flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, Lamson said. Bolster was identified after Troopers Schutzius and Joseph Ebert obtained an April 4 video surveillance footage from the Circle K at Exit 1 in Brattleboro.
The footage showed "a red vehicle with one white male and at least one black male pulled in at approximately midnight on March 31/April, 1."
The footage was shown to officers at the Brattleboro Police officers, who identified the driver as Bolster and the black male as Carter, according to the affidavit.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.
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