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Warner man accused of slashing elderly woman part of latest county indictments

A 59-year-old Warner man has been indicted on charges of slashing and threatening to shoot an elderly woman during what might have been a benign romantic encounter turned drunken confrontation.

The alleged incident took place late Nov. 17 at the home of the man, Dennis Barnard. According to a police affidavit, Barnard and the woman met earlier that night at the Covered Bridge Restaurant in Hopkinton, and each had consumed several alcoholic drinks. The woman, who is 80 and a resident of Maine, was in town visiting her brother.

About 10:30 p.m., a state police trooper responded to a reported burglary in progress at Barnard’s address, 960 Route 103 E. There he found Barnard standing over the woman with a gun to the back of her head, according to the affidavit. Barnard dropped the weapon, it said, and the woman was taken to Concord Hospital and treated for bruises and two 12-inch vertical lacerations to her buttocks.

Barnard appeared intoxicated and, according to the affidavit, insisted that “some guy broke into his house and he stabbed him, called 911 and held a gun to his head until the police showed up.” The trooper, Vincent Grieco, said there were no signs of burglary or forced entry.

The woman later recalled that before the altercation Barnard had mixed two whiskey-based drinks for her, and she had danced with him and listened to music, the affidavit said. The next thing she knew, it said, at least one man was “behind her kicking her on the back side and telling her they were going to ‘blow her brains out.’ ”

The woman reportedly had no memory of being cut. She also suffered bruising on her back, hips, face and hands, the affidavit said. It also said her brother, who had accompanied her to the restaurant, told state troopers that she and Barnard left together about 7 p.m.

Barnard was arrested and charged Nov. 18 with first-degree assault and criminal threatening. He has since been released on $10,000 cash bail. A number listed for Barnard is no longer in service; another went to voicemail. Barnard’s attorney, Michael Iacopino, declined to comment.

Barnard was indicted last week by a Merrimack County grand jury on charges of criminal threatening, second-degree assault and reckless conduct, all Class B felonies. Neither the affidavit nor the indictments, released yesterday, indicates what type of knife or gun Barnard allegedly used.

The state was originally set to indict Barnard last month, but Rachel Harrington, the assistant county attorney handling the case, requested that the deadline be extended because of an incomplete investigation.

Barnard is scheduled for arraignment in Merrimack County Superior Court on April 16.

Allenstown stabbing

The grand jury has indicted an 18-year-old Barnstead woman accused of stabbing another teen more than a dozen times, part of a murder plot allegedly hatched by her 22-year-old boyfriend.

Samantha Heath is charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree assault and reckless conduct, all felonies. She and the boyfriend, Kyle Buffum, are alleged to have colluded in the Jan. 26 attack, at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, during which an 18-year-old female student was stabbed in the chest, stomach, legs, arm and back.

Buffum was indicted on an identical conspiracy charge, as well as counts of accomplice to murder and criminal solicitation, all felonies. He is accused of driving Heath to the park and texting her instructions for killing the student, Andrea Halvorsen, and disposing of her body.

Buffum and Heath had previous interactions with Halvorsen, but the extent of their relations remains unclear. They came in contact with each other at least once, at a party last summer that was broken up by the police at Buffum’s then-residence in Concord. George Waldron, the county prosecutor, said the January incident appears to have been at least partly driven by revenge, but he declined to elaborate. It did not involve a romantic dispute, he said.

Police affidavits for both Heath and Buffum remain sealed in Hooksett’s district court.

Halvorsen is recovering from the attack, Waldron said. Heath, who is being held at the Merrimack County jail, is scheduled for arraignment April 8; Buffum, who is being held at the Hillsborough County jail, is scheduled for the day after.

Northfield meth raid

Five people arrested during a January drug raid have been indicted on charges of cooking methamphetamine across from an elementary school and a public library in Northfield.

The five – Brian Bateman, Jason Buckley, Joseph Cole, Janell Dubreuil and Amanda Warner – have each been charged with felonies related to the alleged operation. Bateman, 27, faces the most charges – 16 – including attempted manufacturing of meth and possession of the drug and its composite ingredients.

A sixth suspect arrested during the raid, Anthony Ottati, was acquitted earlier in district court. At a court hearing in January, Northfield police Sgt. Jennifer Adams testified that Bateman and Warner, who is 26, each admitted to participating in the operation, whether by purchasing ingredients or cooking meth in their apartment at 6 Elm St., at times in the presence of their young child.

Bateman, who is being held at the Merrimack County jail, is scheduled for arraignment April 8. The others, who are being held in various county jails, are scheduled to appear in court April 9 and 10.

Concord preschool theft

A former Concord preschool treasurer has been indicted on charges of stealing more than $4,600 from the school and doctoring monthly records to conceal the theft.

Jennifer Hawkins, 41, of Chichester faces one felony count of theft by unauthorized taking and one misdemeanor of tampering with private records.

Hawkins is accused of siphoning $4,663 from the East Concord Cooperative Preschool from December 2008 to July 2011, when she worked there as a parent volunteer. She used the money to pay off a credit card, according to an initial criminal complaint.

Hawkins was arrested last month and has since been released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail. She is scheduled for arraignment April 16.

Hopkinton assault

Nickolas Micucci, 26, of Hopkinton has been indicted on eight counts related to a domestic dispute in which he allegedly punched his girlfriend in the face and tried to choke her.

Micucci, who was arrested by the state police in August, faces three felonies – two of second-degree assault and one of criminal threatening – and five Class A misdemeanors of simple assault.

The alleged incident took place early Aug. 26 at an address on Pleasant Pond Road. Micucci is accused of punching the woman in the face, head-butting her, choking her, biting her chest, slamming her head against a wall and threatening her with a knife by stabbing it into the wall beside her head.

According to the indictment, the woman suffered a concussion and facial contusions, among other injuries, in the attack.

Micucci, who is representing himself in court, is scheduled for arraignment April 16.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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