The Brotherhood: Jesse Jarvis of Claremont
In his 14 years of on-again, off-again incarceration, Jesse Jarvis, now 32, has seen his share of second chances.
In 1999, six years before he allegedly helped form BOWW, he entered his hometown Kmart in Claremont and started palming cassette tapes and photo film into his pockets, according to a police report. Then 18 and smelling of alcohol, Jarvis was arrested and taken to a hospital to be treated for intoxication. There, during a bathroom break, he tried to escape through a crawl space in the ceiling.
Jarvis, who declined to comment on his past or present role within BOWW, was placed on probation and ordered to complete a treatment program for substance abuse. He was transferred to the Concord state prison in March 2001 after a series of probation violations, including breaking curfew, consuming alcohol, resisting arrest and failing to report to work, according to court records.
Jarvis’s behavior carried into prison, though the frequency of his infractions receded after his first year. In 2004 he asked a judge to reduce his then-sentence, writing in a letter that he had matured a great deal since his 1999 arrest. He had been sober for four years, he wrote, was attending weekly drug and alcohol treatment meetings, and hoped for a chance at a fresh start.
“I have found a inner peace through the last 4½ years of my incarceration which has made me stronger,” Jarvis wrote. “Mostly being today I have love and respect for myself.”
In the letter, Jarvis referenced a challenging childhood and said he had learned early on to mask his personal pain with drugs and alcohol – a substance abuse evaluation in 2000 revealed he had been using both since age 12. Jarvis asked to move in with his mother in Massachusetts, and indicated she had been sober for several years.
In the months that followed, Jarvis continued to struggle. At one point, according to prison records, he was written up for telling an instructor during a substance abuse class to “f---ing shove this program up your ass.”
But Jarvis was eventually released, only to be rearrested in February 2005 for kicking two Claremont police officers. Later that year, after BOWW formed, he was sent to the Concord prison and then to a Rhode Island correctional facility.
Tragedy struck in 2008 when a SWAT team shot and killed Jarvis’s father inside a camper in Charlestown. Officers had come to arrest Jarvis on several charges, including stealing a Nazi flag, and believed his father, Anthony Jarvis, a convicted felon, was armed.
An attorney general’s report later described the incident: Officers demanded the elder Jarvis exit the camper; he repeatedly refused; two officers entered, one with a Taser drawn; the father fired shots, at least one of which struck one of the officers in his thigh; the officers returned fire, hitting the father more than a dozen times, including twice fatally.
The report concluded that the police’s action had been justified.
Asked during a parole hearing this April about the incident, Jesse Jarvis called it “catastrophic, obviously.”
Though the authorities have never said publicly how they linked Jarvis to BOWW, in the 2008 attorney general’s report they cited Jarvis’s former girlfriend, who had been with him at the time of his arrest, as confirming he was the leader of BOWW.
Jarvis was later transferred to a Florida prison.
Asked in a parole hearing this spring about his present involvement with the group, Jarvis, speaking by phone from Florida, said, “The one thing I can say about that is that I was a child. . . . And at that time, I thought it was meaningful. (The audio recording from the hearing then cuts out briefly). I have no concern with the people in BOWW or my membership in BOWW.”
Jarvis was released to a Manchester halfway house in October. Within days he was sent to the Concord prison for an alleged house violation – the staff said he had made alarming statements and gestures. The New Hampshire parole board last month acquitted Jarvis of those charges and returned him to the halfway house.
At the parole hearing, Jarvis sat quietly and referred questions from the board to his public defender, Brooke Belanger, who said he planned to live with his sister-in-law in Claremont if and when he is paroled. He will be eligible for release in the next two and a half months.