Judge orders AG to find man set to be extradited to N.H. on murder charges
A judge yesterday ordered the state attorney general’s office to find out the exact whereabouts of a man being extradited to New Hampshire to face murder charges after a prosecutor said he only knew that the defendant was “in Massachusetts.”
The directive came at the request of attorney Ted Barnes, who has been appointed to represent Thomas Milton on charges that he
beat a fellow inmate at the state prison in Concord in 2010, resulting in the man’s death after more than a year on life support. Barnes, who represented Milton when charges were previously filed against him and then dropped in relation to the prison beating, has been trying to gain access to Milton since early June, when he was arrested in Florida.
Responding to Barnes’s initial requests, Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said the 30-year-old Milton hadn’t been assigned a lawyer on the most recent charges in New Hampshire – be it Barnes or someone else. But in late June, after Milton was indicted by a Merrimack County grand jury, Barnes was appointed by the court to represent him in the new case.
Yesterday, Hinckley told Judge Richard McNamara that he still hadn’t put Barnes in contact with Milton because he doesn’t know where Milton is and isn’t responsible for finding out.
“His client was arrested in Florida. . . . He waived extradition. We’re not part of that process. The Merrimack sheriff is assigned to get him. An employee from my office called the Merrimack sheriff’s office yesterday and was informed that Mr. Milton is in Massachusetts. I don’t have any further information.”
Barnes said without knowing where his client is, he’s been calling the county jail every day for more than a week to ask if Milton has arrived.
“It’s disingenuous for
the state to assert that for the last nearly one month they have had no idea not only where Mr. Milton is but no idea who might know where Mr. Milton is that they could put me in touch with. . . . I don’t understand it, judge,” Barnes said.
Hinckley took issue with Barnes’s characterization and told McNamara that he could put him under oath and he would say the same thing: It’s not his job to track Milton’s whereabouts, and the sheriff’s office has told him only that Milton is in Massachusetts.
“I’m not being disingenuous,” Hinckley said.
McNamara, though, reminded Hinckley that the attorney general is the chief law enforcement official in the state and could direct the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Department to provide more specific information about Milton’s location. At the end of the hearing, McNamara ordered Hinckley to do just that.
“If the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t know where he is, that’s one thing,” McNamara said. “Though that’s hard to believe. . . . Generally, people don’t get lost.”
Milton is one of two men facing charges for murdering 44-year-old Anthony
Renzzulla in 2010. According to an arrest affidavit, he and 31-year-old William Edic attacked Renzzulla
when they believed he was sharing information with prison officials. Both Edic and Milton were members of the Brotherhood of White
Warriors, a white-supremacist prison gang responsible for smuggling drugs and committing assaults inside the facility, according to the affidavit.
About a year after the incident, and a few months before Renzzulla died from his injuries, Edic and Milton were both charged with attempted murder and a string of other assault charges. Those charges were dropped in May 2012.
Barnes said yesterday that the county attorney’s
office dropped the charges after he had repeatedly asserted Milton’s right to a speedy trial and prosecutors were unable to meet deadlines. Barnes said he had expected a judge to dismiss the cases at a hearing scheduled
for the day after the prosecutors dropped the charges themselves.
More than a year later, the attorney general’s office is now bringing murder charges against Milton and Edic with the assistance of another former inmate who was called in to help clean up Renzzulla’s blood after the attack.
According to the affidavit, Randall Chapman was convicted of that crime and sentenced to serve between one and five years, but was released early on parole after he agreed to cooperate with officials.
Chapman changed his mind about talking with the police after he found out that the Brotherhood of White Warriors had issued a “terminate” on sight directive for him, authorizing members of the gang to attack him, according to the affidavit.