Man to serve two years in prison for domestic that led to I-89 shooting

  • Elijah Gross, 40, pleaded guilty in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, to being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon and reckless conduct. —Alyssa Dandrea

  • Elijah Gross. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 6/27/2018 11:33:03 PM

A local man will serve a minimum of two years in state prison for firing a Smith & Wesson revolver at a vehicle occupied by his girlfriend and a 5-year-old on Interstate 89 in Sutton last November.

Elijah Gross, 40, who most recently lived in Allenstown and Concord, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Merrimack County Superior Court to reckless conduct with a deadly weapon for putting the child in harm’s way and to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Gross had previously been convicted of a felony under the state’s Controlled Drug Act.

Judge Brian Tucker sentenced Gross to two to five years in state prison on the reckless conduct charge, although Gross was credited for 115 days already served. Gross also received a consecutive three- to six-year prison sentence on the firearm possession charge, all of which is suspended for five years on conditions of good behavior.

Gross will be on parole for three years following his release.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dismissed a second charge of reckless conduct, which accused Gross of placing his girlfriend Rebecca Manning at risk of serious injury.

The search for Gross began on the evening of Nov. 19 after police received a call from a woman who reported that her daughter, Manning, had been shot at while driving on I-89 North toward Sutton.

In a police interview, Manning said she had spent the prior evening with Gross at a Tilton hotel, where she alleged he had injected methamphetamine and threatened suicide with a .357 revolver.

The next morning, the two made their way to a residence in Concord, where Manning told a friend she needed to get away from Gross, according to a police affidavit.

While Gross was distracted in the basement of the home, Manning fled and headed north on I-89. But 10 to 15 minutes into her drive, she said she noticed a blue car pull up next to her and saw Gross, who was in the front passenger seat, trying to flag her down.

“She said she sped up to get away from his vehicle and a short time later heard a gunshot and knew that Elijah had shot at her,” New Hampshire State Police Trooper Joshua Beauchemin wrote in a sworn affidavit.

Police said they attempted to stop the suspect’s vehicle on the Exit 10 off-ramp, but Gross quickly fled into the woods. He was taken into custody roughly 12 hours later in the area of Gile Pond and North roads.

In court Wednesday, Assistant County Attorney Carley Ahern said Manning was contacted about the terms of the plea deal but never responded. Ahern noted that at the time of Gross’s arrest, the county was also prosecuting a felony assault case against Manning, who was accused of shooting Gross in the leg in Allenstown months earlier.

That case was ultimately dropped with input from Gross, defense attorney Maryellen Biletch told the court, adding, “They have a child together and he wants that child to have a mother.”

Gross has been incarcerated since his arrest in November. However, he received credit for only 115 days, as he also served a several-month jail sentence for violating a protective order that prohibited him from contact with Manning. The violation was one of many for Gross, Ahern noted.

Gross has a criminal record in the region that includes drug-related charges. He told Tucker at the start of Wednesday’s hearing that he previously received treatment for a heroin and methamphetamine addiction. He also noted that during his stay at the state prison in 2005, he was receiving services for bipolar disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder, among other illnesses.

Biletch said, “That’s a major part of his engagement in the criminal justice system – like many people, he has a substantial substance abuse disorder.”

As part of his sentence, Gross will be evaluated to determine what mental health or substance abuse treatment is appropriate, Tucker ordered.

The Smith and Wesson revolver used by Gross was seized by police and will be forfeited to the state.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3309.)

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