Chief’s death, hepatitis C among top N.H. stories
CONCORD, N.H. -- The deadly shooting of a police chief and wounding of four police officers in a Greenland drug raid was one of New Hampshire’s top news stories in 2012.
Tributes poured in from all over the country for Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney, 48, who was days from retirement when he was shot once in the head on April 12 as he scrambled to pull his injured colleagues out of the line of fire.
Another big story was the arrest of a traveling medical technician at Exeter Hospital, who was accused of stealing drugs and infecting patients with hepatitis C through contaminated syringes.
Also in the news was a busy election year as the state, in its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, picked Republican Mitt Romney to challenge President Barack Obama, said goodbye to popular, four-term Gov. John Lynch, shifted the Legislature from a Republican to a Democratic majority, and became the first state to elect an all-female slate to Congress.
Maloney considered the raid at Cullen Mutrie’s home to be the last bit of police work he had to clear up. Officers arrived at Mutrie’s house, but Mutrie was ready, opening fire as police tried to gain entry. Mutrie then killed a female companion before turning the gun on himself.
Among the many in uniform attending Maloney’s funeral was Manchester Police Officer Dan Doherty, who had survived multiple gunshot wounds during a March pursuit of a suspect in an unrelated case. He testified against Myles Webster, who recently was convicted of attempted murder. Webster’s lawyers said it was a case of mistaken identity.
Hospital worker David Kwiatkowski pleaded not guilty to multiple federal charges of tampering with a consumer product and illegally obtaining drugs. Until May, he worked as a cardiac technologist at Exeter Hospital, where 32 patients were diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries. U.S. Attorney John Kacavas called him a "serial infector."
Before Exeter, Kwiatkowski worked as a traveling technologist in 18 hospitals in seven states, despite having been fired twice over allegations of drug use and theft.
Thousands of patients in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania have since been tested for hepatitis C, a blood-borne viral infection that can cause liver disease and chronic health issues. In addition to the New Hampshire patients, six patients in Kansas, five in Maryland and one in Pennsylvania have been found to carry the strain Kwiatkowski carries. His case is scheduled to go to trial next October.
In elections, New Hampshire started the year looking at a bunch of Republicans in the presidential, congressional and state legislative races -- and ended up with a majority of Democrats, a reversal of fortune for a party swept largely from power in 2010.
Democrats picked up the state’s four electoral college votes for President Barack Obama and the two congressional seats. Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter reclaimed the 1st District seat that Republican Frank Guinta had taken from her. Democrat Ann McLane Kuster, who lost to Charles Bass in 2010, easily beat him to take the 2nd District seat.
Democrat Maggie Hassan was elected to succeed the retiring Lynch, a Democrat whose popularity remained so high after nearly eight years in office that Hassan campaigned she would lead in his footsteps.
Election law also made news. Registered voters were asked to show photo identification before obtaining a ballot. Those who did not have photo identification with them or chose not to show IDs could still vote after filling out affidavits attesting to their identities.
The Legislature also changed the state’s voter registration forms. A section of the form, however, was put on hold after a court challenge by out-of-state college students, who traditionally have been allowed to vote in the state without holding legal residency.
Had it taken effect, new voters would have been required to sign a statement saying they declare New Hampshire their home and are subject to laws that apply to all residents, including laws requiring drivers to register cars and get New Hampshire driver’s licenses.
One venue famous for its first-in-the-nation voting, the Ballot Room at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, was closed on Election Day as its new owners work on renovations for a scheduled reopening in 2013.
The Legislature also overrode Lynch’s veto of a bill banning partial-birth abortions. Lynch said the bill was unnecessary because such procedures are already prohibited by federal law. Bill supporters said they don’t trust the federal government to prosecute its law. On another issue, the Legislature failed to repeal the state’s gay marriage law.
Another big story: New Hampshire received an emergency disaster declaration as a result of Superstorm Sandy, which caused 210,000 power outages at its peak and one death, that of a 42-year-old Woodstock construction company owner who fell and was buried in a landslide of mud, water and rock.
A decade after she moved to Manchester, Beatrice Munyenyezi found herself accused of lying about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide to obtain U.S. citizenship. A federal jury deadlocked on the charges; she awaits a second trial.
The state had its share of criminal cases. In one, Julianne McCrery of Irving, Texas, was sentenced to 45 years in prison for suffocating her 6-year-old son in a Hampton Beach motel room and leaving his body along a dirt road in Maine.
Jessica Linscott and Roland Dow of Plaistow were arrested at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla., two weeks after leaving her 3-year-old son behind at an Exeter hospital with brain injuries and burns.
University of New Hampshire sophomore Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott of Massachusetts vanished in October. Authorities believed she was thrown into the waters off Portsmouth’s Peirce Island, though her body has not been found. Seth Mazzaglia was charged with second-degree murder.
Other top news stories of 2012:
-- Two former U.S. senators for New Hampshire died -- John Durkin, a Democrat who won his seat in 1975 in one of the closest elections in Senate history, and Warren Rudman, a Republican who co-authored a ground-breaking budget balancing law and led a commission that predicted the danger of terrorist attacks years before 9/11.
-- The Local Government Center, a non-profit organization that manages health insurance pools for public workers and retirees, was ordered to refund more than $50 million to cities and towns. The center is appealing.
-- President Barack Obama picked Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College, to lead the World Bank.
-- The state Supreme Court heard arguments in the first death penalty case before the court in 50 years. It must decide if Michael Addison, the state’s only death row inmate, becomes the first convicted killer executed in New Hampshire since 1939.
-- Dartmouth College fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon was accused of hazing, was put on probation for three terms and ordered to participate in an extensive series of educational programs. The college makes changes to its hazing policy.
-- Anthony Papile, who pleaded guilty to murder in the disappearance and death last year of a Maine woman whose toddler daughter was found abandoned in her car, was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
-- Residents of Mont Vernon voted to rename a fishing and skating spot that’s been called Jew Pond since the 1920s. The U.S. Board of Geographic Names approved the decision to rename the pond Carleton Pond, after one of the town’s founding families.
-- Hugh Armstrong fell into a ravine while on vacation at Stinson Lake with his family in the summer. Searchers combed the woods for him for days, but there was no sign of him. The 72-year-old Armstrong turned up after more than two weeks and nearly 1,000 miles south, in his home state of North Carolina, without remembering who he was.
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