UPDATE: Laconia teen charged with murder at mental health home held without bail
The State Police Major Crimes Unit truck sits outside of 24 McGrath Street in Laconia; Monday, June 10, 2013. Kasey Riley is accused of strangling Zachary March early Monday morning in the house, where both men lived.
ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff
Crime scene tape blocks off the front door of 24 McGrath Street in Laconia; Monday, June 10, 2013. Kasey Riley is accused of strangling Zachary March early Monday morning in the house, where both men lived.
ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff
11:16 a.m.: The Laconia teen charged with murdering a man who lived with him at a facility for the mentally ill is being held without bail following his arraignment this morning. Officials who have accused 19-year-old Kasey Riley of strangling 27-year-old Zachary March yesterday morning gave no new details about the case today at Laconia’s district court.
An affidavit in the case is sealed even from Riley’s defense attorney, who argued that because his client is being held without bail he has a constitutional right to information about the state’s case against him.
“The state holds the keys,” public defender Jesse Friedman said. “They choose when to arrest. They chose to arrest. We’re in this position. And I need this information so I can properly, adequately and zealously defend Mr. Riley’s constitutional rights.”
Judge James Carroll decided to give prosecutor Geoffrey Ward of the state attorney general’s office until noon Thursday to object to Friedman’s motion for access to the affidavit. The judge said he would issue an order by Thursday afternoon.
Officials say March was found dead inside 24 McGrath St. at about 1:42 a.m. yesterday. The building, operated by Genesis Behavioral Health, is an independent living community for people who have experienced homelessness, according to a company spokeswoman.
Riley has been charged with reckless second-degree murder, indicating officials don’t believe the crime was premeditated but do think Riley was aware of a substantial risk and acted regardless. Ward wouldn’t comment on what officials believe motivated the attack.
Riley’s sister, in a statement issued by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said her brother, a Gilford High School graduate, has struggled with mental illness all his life and spent a night at New Hampshire Hospital on Thursday after waiting two days for a bed.
“I went to visit him around 4:30 on Thursday and was concerned that my brother appeared disheveled,” Debra Riley said in the statement. “He was released from NH State Hospital Friday. I do not know the circumstances for why he was released. I spoke with him several times over the weekend, he did not appear to be agitated or upset. There was no indication that he was dangerous or was going to hurt anyone.’
She said she spoke to her brother at about 9 p.m. Sunday -- a few hours before the police say he strangled March -- and that he told her he had spent the day at the beach.
“I love my brother very much,” she said. “No matter what he has done, that will never change.”
Several of March’s family members were in court today but declined to comment.
Officials said one man strangled another to death early yesterday inside the Laconia residence for individuals with mental illness where they both lived.
Kasey Riley, 19, will be arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder this morning. According to the state attorney general’s office, Laconia police officers responding to the home at about 1:42 a.m. yesterday found 27-year-old Zachary March unresponsive. They pronounced him dead at the scene.
Riley was at the home when officers arrived, said Geoffrey Ward of the attorney general’s office.
The charge of reckless second-degree murder indicates that officials don’t believe the crime was premeditated but do think Riley was aware of a substantial risk and acted regardless. Ward wouldn’t comment on what officials believe motivated the attack.
The building at 24 McGrath St., owned by Genesis Behavioral Health, is an independent living community for individuals who have been homeless at some time, said company spokeswoman Kristen Welch.
She said the residence consists of four apartments, one that is used for communal living by several individuals. Welch said the building has a capacity for 10 people but eight were living there at the time of the incident.
Officials have declined to say whether any of them witnessed the attack or say who called the police.
Welch said residents at the home receive supervision and support but not 24-hour-a-day monitoring. She said no employees were present at the time of the incident.
“Our concern right now is for the family and friends of the deceased,” Welch said. “We are concerned for anybody who was affected by this, the other residents of the building and for our staff.”
Neighbors on the quiet, residential block said they’ve never had problems with people at the home. One man said he occasionally hears a resident “getting carried away vocally,” but that he’s never witnessed things get out of control.
Riley, who according to his Facebook page is originally from Gilford and attended Gilford High School, will be arraigned at 10 a.m. at Laconia’s district court.
Officials said the investigation remains open, and an autopsy will be performed on March today.
(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)