Loudon man held without bail in toddler’s murder

  • Douglas Barton —Courtesy

  • The house on School Street in Loudon where State Police are investigating the death of a 23-month-old child at the home on Wednesday night. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 9/30/2019 5:03:37 PM

A Loudon man accused of fatally beating a toddler at a home on School Street in the town last week will be held without bail pending trial, a judge ruled Monday.

Douglas Barton, 39, who previously served time in state prison, waived his right to an arraignment in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on a charge of second-degree murder. Barton will remain incarcerated at the county jail in Boscawen, where he has been detained since his arrest Friday.

Barton is accused of recklessly causing the death of 23-month-old Colton Emery “by physically assaulting him multiple times,” according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.

Loudon police responded Wednesday at about 3:49 a.m. to a residence on School Street for a report of a child who was not breathing. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.

That same day, the state medical examiner performed an autopsy and ruled Colton’s death a homicide.

Assistant Attorney General Erin Fitzgerald said at the courthouse Monday that Colton suffered blunt force trauma to the head but declined to provide further details on the nature of the child’s injuries or if any weapons were used in the assault.

“It’s still an active, ongoing investigation so I can’t comment on specific details,” she told reporters outside the courtroom. “Additionally, the prosecution phase of this case has started so I’m limited in what I can provide.”

Fitzgerald would not say if Barton was known to the child or if either of them lived at the home where the death was reported last week.

“We are not releasing any additional information on the relationship at this time,” she said.

New Hampshire State Police and Manchester police took Barton into custody Friday on a warrant. Authorities have not released any additional information about the circumstances of that arrest, including where Barton was located.

Barton has an extensive criminal record in New Hampshire and has faced dozens of criminal cases since the mid-1990s. He has prior convictions for burglary, theft, drug possession, willful concealment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass, as well as parole violations, according to the state court system.

A Merrimack County judge sentenced Barton in spring 2017 to 2½ to seven years in prison, with credit for 141 days served pretrial, for burglarizing a residence in Loudon in August 2016. He received additional, suspended prison time for another burglary committed in the town that July and for possession of a narcotic drug.

Barton was on parole at the time he committed the burglaries in Loudon. He was previously sentenced in Hillsborough County Superior Court to 1½ to seven years in state prison on multiple counts of theft and burglary.

He has also served other short stints in New Hampshire’s county jails on theft charges, according to court records.

The death in Loudon and a shooting later the same day in Concord when authorities say a man killed his longtime girlfriend outside the Steeplegate Mall and then turned the gun on himself were the 26th and 27th homicides in the state this year. New Hampshire has now seen more homicides – to include murder-suicides – in 2019 than in any year since 1991, which saw 34 total cases, according to the attorney general.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319 or at adandrea@cmonitor.com.)



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