Prosecutor in middle of messy case

Last modified: 6/20/2011 12:00:00 AM
A Laconia man accused of beating and threatening to kill a state homicide prosecutor who was his longtime girlfriend appeared in Concord District Court last week on charges stemming from his alleged efforts to blackmail the woman and her bosses.

Peter DiBiaso, 46, waived probable cause on the charges, which allege he tried to use improper influence when he called an investigator with the attorney general's office and threatened to discredit Assistant Attorney General Lucy Carrillo if the office didn't persuade the Alton police to drop its charges against him.

The Alton police had arrested DiBiaso in January and charged him with obstructing the report of a crime for allegedly preventing Carrillo from making a 911 call during a domestic dispute at her Alton home.

During that incident, DiBiaso, who is a convicted felon, choked Carrillo and repeatedly kicked her in the head, according to what Carrillo told the Belknap County Sheriff's Department.

But Carrillo didn't initially report those allegations to the police. Her lawyer, Chuck Douglas, said Carrillo had been reluctant to reveal what happened to her, despite having taken pictures of red marks and bruising on her neck and head.

'Unfortunately, even though Lucy is a prosecutor and a lawyer, she had all the classic symptoms of being an abused victim, which she was,' Douglas said.

He said Carrillo, who had been in a relationship with DiBiaso for four years, feels that her case is 'just an example that no matter who you are, even a professional woman, you can get into a situation where you don't know exactly what to do and when to do it.'

Douglas said Carrillo is not commenting on the situation with DiBiaso because criminal charges are pending against him.

DiBiaso was on probation for burglary and felon in possession of a firearm convictions dating to 2009 when he was arrested Jan. 27 and charged with obstructing government administration and obstructing the report of crime or injury. According to the charges brought by the Alton police, DiBiaso grabbed a phone from Carrillo's hands as she tried to call 911.

A bail commissioner issued a temporary no-contact order between DiBiaso and Carrillo. But after his arraignment, he continued to send her harassing text messages, according to court documents, and she sought an emergency protective order from the Laconia family court.

DiBiaso wouldn't give the court his address, however, and prosecutors told a Laconia District Court judge they'd been unable to serve him with paperwork. After he didn't show up for a hearing, the Belknap County Sheriff's Department issued warrants for his arrest.

He was picked up in April in Florence, Ala., by the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force and brought back to New Hampshire, where he is being held at the Belknap County jail.

Before getting arrested, however, DiBiaso called one of Carrillo's friends at the Merrimack County Attorney's Office, saying he had paid someone '$5,000 to rape, beat, kill and remove Lucy's body so no one would find her,' according to court documents.

He then made a series of calls to the attorney general's office, threatening to discredit Carrillo and alleging she forged her diplomas, according to court documents.

DiBiaso also threatened to share explicit photographs of Carrillo, according to court documents.

Those threats led the Belknap County Sheriff's Department, which investigated DiBiaso's threats, to charge DiBiaso with three counts of attempted improper influence.

The sheriff's department also interviewed Carrillo, who reported that before she called 911 the night of Jan. 27, DiBiaso had grown angry after checking text messages stored on her phone, according to an affidavit filed by the sheriff's department.

DiBiaso then pushed Carrillo onto her bed, straddling her and choking her, according to the affidavit.

Carrillo said she thought she had passed out. When she regained consciousness, she saw she was next to DiBiaso, who started kicking her in the head, according to the affidavit.

The sheriff's department charged DiBiaso with two counts of second-degree assault. Those charges are also pending in Laconia District Court.

Carrillo, who is 46, has worked for the office since 2007 and prosecuted the Mont Vernon home invasion murder cases. She was placed on paid leave March 31, as the sheriff's department was conducting its investigation, said Anne Edwards, the chief of staff for the attorney general's office.

Edwards said her office conducted its own investigation related to allegations made by DiBiaso but wouldn't comment on its outcome. She said Carrillo was back at work as of May 31, still an assistant attorney general but reassigned to the criminal appeals unit.

Edwards wouldn't comment on why Carrillo was reassigned, saying it was a personnel matter. But Douglas - who said he represented Carrillo in a matter related to her employment - said the change was a 'mutually agreed move,' made in part because of the charges against DiBiaso.

'She thought it would be best not to be involved in criminal prosecutions right now, where she's going to be a witness in one herself,' Douglas said, also noting that the attorney general's office needed another person to help handle appeals.

As for why Carrillo was placed on leave, Douglas said there was 'concern as to what exactly happened and when she reported the abuse.'

He said the attorney general's office decided to involve the Belknap County Sheriff's Department and 'just felt it would be inappropriate for (Carrillo) to be at work while they were doing that.' The allegations made by DiBiaso, including that Carrillo forged a high school diploma, were untrue, Douglas said.

Douglas said Carrillo, who is also a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, was glad to be back at work.

He said Carrillo hopes to work with women who have been victims of domestic violence. 'She honestly feels that if it can happen to someone like her, it can certainly happen to women who have less power and less employment,' he said.

(Maddie Hanna can be reached at 369-3321 or mhanna@cmonitor.com.)




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