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N.H. Supreme Court denies appeal of man convicted running over wife at Bow gas station

  • Jason Alleyne, 29, of Concord enter Merrimack County Superior Court on Thursday May 17, 2018 at the beginning of his trial. He is accused of intentionally running over his wife with her car at the Circle K Irving gas station on Route 3A in Bow last year. —Monitor file

Monitor staff
Published: 5/6/2020 1:50:24 PM

The state’s highest court has denied the appeal of a Laconia man convicted in 2018 of driving toward his wife and pinning her under the vehicle at a Bow gas station after using methamphetamine.

Jason Alleyne, 31, argued that a Merrimack County Superior Court judge was wrong to limit the scope of psychiatrist Dr. Stuart Gitlow’s testimony. Judge John Kissinger Jr. had ruled pretrial that Gitlow could not offer an opinion on Alleyne’s intent or mental state at the time of the August 2017 incident, but could testify more generally about the effects of methamphetamine use on the brain and about the classic signs of impairment.

In denying the appeal, the New Hampshire Supreme Court wrote that Kissinger’s decision did not affect the verdict and that other evidence of Alleyne’s guilt was overwhelming.

“Having reviewed the extensive record before us, we conclude that there was substantial other evidence of the defendant’s methamphetamine intoxication such that the excluded testimony would have been cumulative,” the justices wrote in a decision released Wednesday morning.

After a roughly week-long trial in May 2018, jurors found Alleyne guilty of verbally threatening to kill his wife before jumping into the driver’s seat of her Nissan Maxima and accelerating over her at the Circle K Irving gas station on Route 3A in Bow. The victim suffered a broken collarbone, broken vertebrae and a broken finger. Police said several witnesses lifted the vehicle off of her and that Alleyne fled the scene on foot, running across Interstate 93 near the Days Inn motel.

Jurors acquitted Alleyne of an attempted murder charge, but convicted him of first- and second-degree assault, as well as seven misdemeanor charges: four counts of simple assault, two counts of criminal mischief and one count of criminal threatening. He is serving a six- to 12-year state prison sentence at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin.

During oral arguments before the high court in February, Alleyne’s attorney Christopher Johnson argued that because Alleyne was intoxicated he could not have “purposefully or knowingly” committed the charged crimes. He said Gitlow should have been permitted to testify that violent behavior is a symptom of intoxication, thereby drawing a critical link to establish that Alleyne was in fact intoxicated.

“The defense theory is because of the mental confusion rooted in intoxication, he’s expressing anger, he’s sufficiently intoxicated that he’s lost the sense that hitting her with a car is different than hitting her with his hand,” Johnson told the Supreme Court justices.

Conversely, Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Woodcock said Kissinger made the right call when he limited the scope of Gitlow’s testimony at trial. She said any commentary about Alleyne’s intent could have “amounted to a diminished capacity or diminished responsibility defense,” a defense not recognized under New Hampshire law.

“To what degree do you allow an expert to comment on a defendant’s intent when he has never examined him or reviewed medical records?” Woodcock asked.

Prosecutors did not contend that Alleyne had taken methamphetamine that day but said there were too many variables to determine his exact level of intoxication.

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