Granite State 2012: Greenland tragedy, busy election year N.H.'s top stories
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Hampshire shows David Kwiatkowski, a former lab technician at Exeter, N.H., Hospital. Kwiatkowski is accused of stealing drugs and infecting patients with hepatitis C through contaminated syringes. Kwiatkowski's charge of an out brake of hepatitis C infections across the state and country is one of New Hampshire's top stories of the year. (AP Photo/U.S. Attorney's Office, File)
FILE - This undated photo provided by the Greenland Police Dept. shows Chief Michael Maloney. The Greenland Police Chief, Maloney was killed during a drug bust-turned-shootout Thursday April 12, 2012 in New Hampshire. Maloney's death was one of the top stories from New Hampshire in 2012. (AP Photo/Greenland Police Department, File)
FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - In this July 2, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and wife Ann Romney jet ski on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 file photo, employees of the New Hampshire state health department set up a temporary clinic at the the middle school in Stratham, N.H., to test hundreds of people for hepatitis C related to an outbreak at nearby Exeter Hospital. David Kwiatkowski, who worked at the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Exeter Hospital, was charged with causing the outbreak, infecting more than 30 people. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and wife Ann Romney jet ski on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., Monday, July 2, 2012, where Romney has a vacation home. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Barack Obama rallies a crowd of 14,000 in downtown Concord; Saturday, November 4, 2012. The President and former President Bill Clinton spoke on a stage set up in North State Street two days before the general election.
(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
The five women holding New Hampshire's top political offices, from left, Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan, U.S. Reps.-elect Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, and U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen discuss what their lives are like as female politicians during a panel discussion Friday Dec. 7, 2012 at the Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
An officer walks by the motorcycle of Greenland Police chief Michael Maloney, Wednesday April 18, 2012 in Hampton, N.H. during a wake service for the chief, who died when he and other officers were trying to serve a warrant at a Greenland home. Four other officers were injured.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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 across the country for Greenland police Chief Michael Maloney, 48, who was days from retirement when he was shot once in the head 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 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 the 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 is infected with. 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 Obama and the two congressional seats. Former Democratic U.S. representative Carol Shea-Porter reclaimed the 1st District seat that Republican Frank Guinta had taken from her. Democrat Annie Kuster, who lost to Charlie 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 popular
ity 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 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.
In the fall, 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.
The state also 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 stories of 2012
∎ 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.
∎ 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 nonprofit 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 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 made 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.