Story of the Year No. 5: 23-year-old CHS grad fatally stabbed

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  • Mark Galusha speaks to a large group of family and friends during a candlelight vigil for his daughter, stabbing victim Sabrina Marie Galusha, in downtown Concord. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file

Monitor staff
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The fatal stabbing of a 23-year-old Concord High School graduate this spring left a community with more questions than answers, as people tried to make sense of a seemingly random act of violence.

Sabrina Galusha had never met Daswan Jette before their encounter outside the Penacook Place Apartments on the night of May 30. Galusha, accompanied by three friends, intended to make a quick stop by the apartment complex to sell Jette a half-ounce of marijuana, but Jette had plans of his own, prosecutors allege. Jette is accused of stealing the $90 bag of pot, which prompted an altercation that ended Galusha’s life.

Hours later, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office arrested and charged Jette with second-degree murder. Prosecutors say he stabbed Galusha three times, including once in the chest with the knife, penetrating her heart.

When prosecutors presented their case to a Merrimack County grand jury in August, a new charge of first-degree murder was filed, but with little explanation. Prosecutors have declined to say what new evidence led them to believe the killing was “deliberate and premeditated.”

Defense attorneys recently raised the question of whether Jette, who is being held without bail, is mentally competent to stand trial. That matter is still pending before the court.

Jette, previously of Boston, had moved into his girlfriend’s apartment at Penacook Place just weeks before the stabbing, police said. Galusha’s friend, Sam Chase, told police a distant friend had reached out to him around that time through Facebook on Jette’s behalf to inquire about buying marijuana.

Chase and Jette agreed to meet for the first time on May 30 at around 8:30 p.m. Chase was joined by Madison Campbell, Annika Tidd and Galusha.

The friends later told police Jette had climbed into the back seat of Tidd’s Chevy Cruze, where he produced a handheld scale and asked that the marijuana be weighed. However, once Galusha let go of the bag, Jette grabbed it and ran, they said.

The chase led Galusha, Chase and Campbell inside a small vestibule about 100 feet away, where police say Jette displayed a knife and threatened to stab them. While the friends ultimately escaped the lobby, Galusha was unable to make it back into the car in time and was stabbed, police said.

On her way to Concord hospital, Galusha lost consciousness and could not be revived by paramedics.

As news of Galusha’s death reached members of the community, friends and family members banded together, sharing their fondest memories at public gatherings held in her honor. A candlelight vigil in the days after Galusha’s death drew more than 200 people to the State House lawn to pay their respects. And three months later, music sounded loudly from Eagle Square as loved ones gathered to celebrate Galusha’s life with music.

While that outreach supported a grieving family, not all efforts were pure; one campaign claiming to raise money for Galusha’s funeral expenses resulted in the family’s revictimization.

Last month, Concord police arrested Jeffrey Grenier of Manchester and charged him with pocketing more than $5,000 raised for the family. Police say Grenier created the GoFundMe page under false pretenses two days after Galusha’s death and later used the money to buy himself a car. The felony theft case against Grenier is still pending in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord.