AG: Two men found in Springfield shed in 2012 died in suicide pact
The Attorney General’s office has closed the case on the death of two former Kearsarge Regional High School students whose bodies were found in a shed in Springfield last year, ruling both of their deaths suicides.
Because both deaths were ruled suicides, no criminal charges will be filed.
The bodies of Lester Snide, 23, of Springfield and Clifford Pursell, 19, of Bradford were found in a shed off Four Corners Road in Springfield on April 19, 2012.
A few weeks after the bodies were found, New Hampshire Attorney General’s office said in a statement that based on information gathered at the time, including notes left by both men, officials believed that Snide shot and killed Pursell and then shot himself.
The attorney general’s office affirmed that conclusion in a six-page report they released yesterday.
“Due to the circumstances at the time in their lives, these two individuals chose to enter into a suicide pact and prematurely end their lives. Based on the evidence, it is possible that Lester Snide killed Clifford Pursell and then took his own life,” the attorney general wrote in the conclusion of the report.
No one returned calls to the attorney general’s office yesterday.
Both men left suicide notes that were retrieved by the police in the shed.
Pursell wrote in his note that “Lester didn’t murder me, I asked him to do it,” while Snide wrote in his note, “It’s too hard and I’m (expletive) in the head.” Snide titled his note, “This is my final goodbye.”
An autopsy conducted by Chief Medical Examiner Thomas Andrew found that Pursell died from a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was undetermined. Snide also died from a gunshot wound to the head, but his manner of death was ruled a suicide. Toxicology reports showed that both of the men had been drinking alcohol.
Pursell had hoped to join the military, but had been recently informed his application for the Army was rejected and was depressed over the news, according to interviews the attorney general’s office conducted with Denise Mason, a woman that Pursell was living with before he died and the mother of Kameron Marshall, a friend of Pursell’s.
Snide earlier had a troubling episode with the police.
In 2007, he broke into the Springfield police station and stole and fired a shotgun before aiming it at police officers in hopes that the officers would fire at him, according to a Monitor story at the time. Snide was sentenced to four to 10 years in prison, but instead was placed on probation. But after being found to be abusing alcohol and drugs, Snide’s probation was revoked and he was sent to the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord in February 2009.
He was placed on parole on Halloween 2011.
The attorney general’s report showed that Snide had made the comment that if he was ever forced to go back to jail, he would kill himself.
Both men had been living with Marshall and Mason at the time of their deaths. In February 2012, Mason told officials that Pursell had met a girl online and was planning to move to Montana to be with her. Mason told the police that she thought Pursell and Snide had taken the bus a few days before Christmas and were headed toward Montana.
Kelley Bradshaw, the woman that Pursell was planning to visit in Montana, also told investigators that Pursell had talked about suicide in the past. Investigators also sought out Jeanie Abair, Snide’s recent girlfriend. She told investigators that Snide said that if he had to go back to prison, he would kill himself.
Snide’s foster parents, Steve and Daphne Klein, did not return a request for comment. Pursell’s mother, Sandra Pursell, could not be reached for comment.