Accomplice in 1997 murder of N.H. officer seeks records to fight for renewed release

  • Kevin Paul

Monitor staff
Published: 5/12/2020 3:46:02 PM

An accomplice in the 1997 murder of an Epsom police officer was back Tuesday before the New Hampshire Parole Board trying to obtain files that he hopes could help get him released from yet another stint in prison.

Kevin Paul, 41, was last freed from the men’s prison in Concord on Oct. 14. He stopped communicating with his parole officer in mid-February and fled a sober living house in Manchester, authorities allege. He was ultimately located at an apartment in Copperas Cove, Texas, and arrested without incident by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force on Feb. 19.

Paul is now requesting through his attorneys his entire parole file maintained by Officer Patrick Wright, in addition to all communications Wright had with the parole board about Paul’s possible removal from electronic monitoring back in January. Paul is also seeking records of any voice messages he or his then-girlfriend left with Wright in the days leading up to and after his capture, and records maintained by the electronic monitoring services provider Sentinel.

Paul, who was convicted for his role in the killing of Epsom police officer Jeremy Charron, faces another 17 years in state prison after the alleged parole violations. His attorneys argued Tuesday that those records could help bolster Paul’s case for a release date earlier than 2037. A parole revocation hearing will take place in approximately 45 days.

On Tuesday morning, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office served Paul with an arrest warrant at the prison, charging him with escape, a class B felony, dating back to the incident in February. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on the new charge.

Before the parole board Tuesday, Paul entered pleas of “not true” to three parole violations. Those violations allege Paul left New Hampshire without permission, failed to keep his electronic monitoring device charged and failed to meet weekly with Wright.

While a parole revocation hearing was initially set for Tuesday, defense attorney Mariana Dominguez filed a motion to continue so the board could first take up her request for the disclosure of state records pertaining to Paul’s parole history.

Wright said several times during the video hearing that he doesn’t understand why the records are essential to Paul’s defense, especially when he is not contesting that Paul was of good behavior and doing well prior to the alleged escape in mid-February.

“In an email Officer Wright indicated that because these records do not pertain to the violations alleged that we are not entitled to them,” Dominguez said. “We disagree with that assertion.”

Citing case law, she explained that if Paul was a “model parolee” before he allegedly absconded and if the records reflect that, than the defense is entitled to a review of that information.

Wright told the parole board Tuesday that Paul was fully compliant with the conditions of his parole and had reported weekly. As a result, Wright wrote the parole board and requested that Paul be removed from electronic monitoring. However, board members denied that request on Jan. 10, saying they wanted him to remain on the anklet for another 90 days, so until early April.

Because the parole records sought by Dominguez are confidential, Wright advised that she would need to seek a court order to obtain them.

After receiving testimony during the approximately hour-long hearing, three members of the parole board deliberated and chose to grant the defense’s motion to obtain the records. Chairwoman Jennifer Sargent said the board would issue subpoenas to Dominguez to serve to the state’s Department of Corrections, in addition to Sentinel for archived GPS monitoring on Paul.

Sargent said the agencies can move to quash those subpoenas or move to limit the scope of information.

Paul, a former Concord resident, was initially granted parole in early 2015 after serving 17 years in prison for his role in Charron’s murder. But not long after his release, Paul violated the conditions of his parole in August 2015, and the parole board sent him back behind prison walls for 30 days.

The brief sanction was the first in a series of setbacks for Paul. After his release that September from prison, he soon joined a burglary ring, trading guns for methamphetamine and cash as part of an illegal operation that police say extended into Massachusetts. As a result, Paul was sent back to prison and faced new felony charges in Hillsborough and Merrimack counties. He ultimately reached a plea deal and the case was resolved by late 2016.

Paul became eligible for parole again in late 2019. Appearing before the board this past September, he told them this time would be different and that his most recent prison sanction had given him a new perspective on life.

“If I’m granted parole I won’t just adhere to the conditions set forth by the parole board. I will make the parole board proud of me,” he said.

Familiar with Paul’s criminal history, Donna Sytek, who was then parole board chairwoman, recalled the serious offenses that had brought Paul before the board in the past. She said in September that he appeared to be a changed man.

“I’ve seen you on your previous bids for parole and gave you a chance and you disappointed me, but today I believe you’re a new person,” she said. “You have the best of intentions. Follow through on them.”

Sargent succeeded Sytek as chairwoman of the parole board in mid-January. Sytek, who remains on the board, observed Tuesday’s hearing but was not one of the three deliberating members.

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