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Third torture suspect sentenced to 18 to 60 years

Daniel Tyler Cantrell

Daniel Tyler Cantrell

A 19-year-old former Concord man and the victim of one of Merrimack County’s most gruesome torture cases addressed his third and final abuser yesterday in Merrimack County Superior Court, recounting in detail the physical and emotional pain he said the man had inflicted earlier this year.

“I don’t know you very well,” the teen said, reading from a statement. “But all I know is you’re a horrible person to society.”

The defendant, 21-year-old Daniel Tyler Cantrell, sat quietly at a table nearby.

“You should be in prison for a long time,” the teen continued. “And I hope you get what I had to go through in prison, because I feel you deserve to feel what I had to feel.

“That’s all.”

Cantrell, who pleaded guilty last week to five felonies – two for burning the teen’s nipples, two for breaking his jaw and ankle, and one for helping burn his penis – was sentenced yesterday to 18 to 60 years in state prison. The abuse occurred over several weeks this spring at the victim’s mother’s home in Penacook. The mother, Christine Gelineau, and the victim’s cousin, Amy Nason, each pleaded guilty last month to also taking part in the mistreatment.

Cantrell, who is from Tennessee and is not related to the victim, had been scheduled to go to trial later this month but struck a last-minute plea deal with county prosecutors, the day after Nason pleaded and was sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison.

Gelineau, who was the first to plead, received a nine- to 30-year sentence.

The hearing yesterday was brief. Judge Larry Smukler said he didn’t have much to say.

“One of the reasons I’m not saying very much is that words fail me,” he told Cantrell. “It is difficult to imagine that a human being can do to another human being what you have pleaded to doing.”

He then signed the sentence, and added, “I am first and foremost thinking . . . of justice for the victim. And given the victim’s statement and the state’s representation, I think this sentence meets – to some degree – that measure of justice.”

Prosecutor George Waldron and County Attorney Scott Murray said after the proceeding that they hoped the stiff punishment would serve as a deterrent – “that, at least in New Hampshire, you can’t treat another person in this manner,” Waldron said.

“The guy is going to spend the next 18 years in an 8-by-8 cell,” Murray said. “He’ll be 81 by the time he gets off probation or out of prison.”

The victim and his relatives, meanwhile, appeared relieved as the hearing ended. They embraced prosecutors, a victim coordinator and several Concord police detectives, who had all assisted with the case.

The family has established a college fund for the victim. Anyone who would like to contribute may visit gofundme.com/53e5mk, and follow the instructions. (The victim has consented to publishing the link for this site, which includes his name.)

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

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