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Detective: 23-year-old Concord woman stabbed to death over $90 bag of pot

  • Daswan Jette, 20, of Concord is escorted from the courtroom after being denied bail during a hearing at Merrimack County Superior Court on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Jette was previously charged with two alternative counts of second-degree murder in the death of Sabrina Galusha. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Daswan Jette, 20, of Concord is handcuffed after being denied bail during a hearing at Merrimack County Superior Court on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Jette was previously charged with two alternative counts of second-degree murder in the death of Sabrina Galusha. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A bail hearing for Daswan Jette, 20, of Concord, took place at Merrimack County Superior Court on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Jette was charged with two alternative counts of second-degree murder in the death of Sabrina Galusha and was denied bail. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A bail hearing for Daswan Jette, 20, of Concord, took place at Merrimack County Superior Court on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Jette was charged with two alternative counts of second-degree murder in the death of Sabrina Galusha and was denied bail. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A bail hearing for Daswan Jette, 20, of Concord, took place at Merrimack County Superior Court on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Jette was charged with two alternative counts of second-degree murder in the death of Sabrina Galusha and was denied bail. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)



Monitor staff
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An accused murderer fatally stabbed his 23-year-old victim after she and her friends confronted him for stealing a half-ounce of marijuana, which has a street value of $90, a Concord police detective testified Wednesday.

Concord resident Sabrina Marie Galusha and three friends drove to the Penacook Place Apartments at 36 Pinehurst St. on the evening of May 30 to sell Daswan Jette marijuana, but the deal didn’t go as planned, Concord police Detective Wade Brown said. He said Jette stole the bag of pot, prompting an altercation that led to Galusha’s death.

An autopsy revealed that Galusha suffered three stab wounds: one to the inside of her right knee, a second to her buttock and a third to her chest, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said during Wednesday’s probable cause and bail hearing. The chest wound was fatal as the knife penetrated Galusha’s heart, he said.

Jette, 20, of Concord is charged with alternative counts of second-degree murder. He faced a judge Wednesday in Merrimack County Superior Court, the first time since his arrest May 31.

During the hearing, which lasted more than an hour, Brown testified in detail about the night of Galusha’s death, including accounts of his interviews with three of Galusha’s friends – Sam Chase, Madison Campbell and Anika Tidd – who were the last to see her alive.

The case

According to Brown’s testimony, Tidd dialed 911 at 8:38 p.m. from North State Street. She reported that her friend had been stabbed and that they were on their way to Concord Hospital. Tidd made the call about 2 miles from Penacook Place, where investigators say Jette stabbed Galusha inside Tidd’s car as the group was trying to flee.

When police met up with Tidd’s black Chevy Cruze outside Swenson Granite Works, they found Galusha unresponsive in the back seat, Brown said. Galusha was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police officers responded to Penacook Place about 9 p.m., roughly 20 minutes after the 911 call. Chase, Campbell and Tidd told investigators they had been at the apartment complex with Galusha to sell marijuana to Jette, whom they’d never met, Brown said.

Chase told police a distant friend had reached out through Facebook a week earlier to say Jette had recently moved to Concord from Boston and needed a marijuana supplier. Brown noted that Jette had been living full time with his girlfriend, Ali Simmers, at 36 Pinehurst St. since May 14.

About 5 p.m. on the night of the stabbing, Chase received a text from Jette requesting a half-ounce of marijuana, Brown testified. Chase responded that he was in Concord and could help. He met Jette outside 36 Pinehurst St. shortly before 8:30 p.m., and was joined by Tidd, Galusha and Campbell.

The friends remained in the car as Jette climbed into the back seat next to Galusha, Brown said. Jette then produced a handheld scale and asked that the marijuana be weighed. But as soon as Galusha let go of the bag, Jette grabbed it and ran from the car, the group told police.

Galusha and Chase ran after Jette, whom they met up with inside a small vestibule about 100 feet away, Brown said, noting that Campbell soon followed. Brown said the first door to the lobby of the apartment building is typically left unlocked, but that a second door requires a key to get inside the housing unit. He said the group of friends theorized that Jette had dropped his keys and therefore couldn’t go any further.

Inside the lobby, Galusha and Chase asked Jette to return the bag of marijuana.

“They asked him a few times and, at one point, he produced a knife,” Brown said, adding that Jette waived it around, threatening to stab them.

Chase told police he saw the knife against Galusha’s arm during the fight, but didn’t believe Jette had stabbed her, Brown said. Police later concluded by evaluating blood spatter at the scene that Galusha had been stabbed in the buttock at that location.

Brown said Chase recalled trying to get Jette in a headlock, but noted that he didn’t succeed. Campbell helped by grabbing one of Jette’s arms, which she said allowed Galusha to take the knife and return it to a folding position. Chase told Brown he didn’t see Galusha grab the knife.

“Is it clear what happened to that folding knife?” Strelzin asked Brown at one point Wednesday.

“No, neither of them knew what happened to that knife after they left the vestibule,” Brown said of Chase and Campbell.

Campbell, Chase and Galusha were able to escape the lobby, but Jette pursued them back to the Chevy Cruze, where Tidd was still in the driver’s seat, Brown testified.

But Galusha was not able to get her door closed before Jette caught up with them, her friends told police.

“Initially, they think he’s punching her, but he’s stabbing her?” Strelzin asked Brown.

“Yes,” he replied.

But then they heard Galusha say, “I’m being stabbed” or, “He stabbed me,” Brown continued.

Galusha was able to talk at first, but then her breathing became labored and she quickly lost consciousness, witnesses said. Brown said Galusha’s rapidly deteriorating condition prompted Tidd to pull over and call 911 on North State Street, but help came too late.

The accused

Police executed a search warrant of Jette’s apartment at 6 a.m. the next morning. During the search, they seized a bloody sweatshirt containing a folding knife, along with a pair of soggy and blood-spattered sneakers.

Jette was interviewed by investigators, but denied any involvement in the stabbing, saying he’d been in his apartment since about 8 p.m. and had not had visitors. He said he saw police cruisers that evening, but didn’t ponder why.

Jette’s public defender, Robin Davis, attempted to poke holes in the state’s case Wednesday. She spent much of her time focused on the fight in the vestibule, and during one question, speculated whether Jette could have been defending himself with the folding knife.

Judge John Kissinger, who presided over the hearing, ultimately sided with the state by finding probable cause for Jette’s arrest and the murder charges against him. Based on the evidence presented by the state, Kissinger said, Jette was the only one armed, pursued people who were trying to escape, and stabbed one of them multiple times.

Per state law, Jette remains held without bail pending trial.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)