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Trial to begin in N.H. police officer’s shooting

Weeks after a Manchester police officer and the man accused of shooting him first confronted each other in a courtroom, they’ll face off again at trial this week.

Prosecutors say Myles Webster of Litchfield, 23, shot officer Daniel Doherty five times as the officer closed in on him during a foot chase in March. Webster is charged with attempted murder and other felonies in the shooting, and jury selection was set to begin tomorrow in the case.

During a hearing in November, Doherty testified in front of Webster about that night. He said he was about to tackle Webster when he heard a gunshot and felt an explosion of pain in his shin.

Webster’s lawyers sought unsuccessfully to have his trial moved out of Manchester, where the state’s only death row inmate, Michael Addison, was convicted of shooting to death a Manchester police officer in 2006. Addison could become the first convicted killer executed in New Hampshire since 1939.

Webster has been in custody since his arrest the day after Doherty was shot.

Doherty, now 27, was the first uniformed officer to respond to a plainclothes officer’s request for assistance to apprehend a man who was acting agitated and was yelling at drivers.

Doherty said he first encountered Webster in an alley between two buildings, identified himself as a police officer and shouted, “Show me your hands.” He said Webster fled instead and he followed.

As they rounded a corner, Doherty said, Webster wheeled around and began firing.

Manchester Detective Patrick Houghton testified in April that Webster emptied his gun while firing at Doherty, and 15 bullet casings were retrieved at the scene. Houghton said Webster was apprehended in a nearby backyard and a gun was retrieved from the property.

Houghton said a woman who was with Webster during the hours before the shooting told the police Webster was agitated and emotional and had been acting that way earlier at an apartment where he had been drinking. He told her in the car that if he was arrested, he would go to jail for life and would “take out a cop” if the police ever came to arrest him.

Doherty returned fire, but his shots went wide.

When he was being booked, Houghton testified, Webster said, “You might as well just kill me. I’m going to jail for life.”

Lawyers for both sides will make their opening remarks either late tomorrow or early Tuesday. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Webster was also charged with attempted robbery, two felony counts of reckless conduct and resisting arrest.

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