Man charged in 2005 Concord cold case pleads not guilty

  • Richard Ellison was arraigned on a murder charge at Concord's district court on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Ellison is charged with starting a house fire that led to the death of Robert McMillan in Concord in December of 2005. NICK STOICO / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/29/2019 1:18:33 PM

The man accused of setting a fire that killed an elderly Concord man in 2005 pleaded not guilty to murder charges Monday.

Richard Ellison, 46, waived his arraignment on the charges that carry a punishment of up to life in prison and did not appear in court Tuesday.

He is being held without bail at Merrimack County jail in Boscawen. Court records show Ellison, through a public defender, filed his plea in Merrimack County Superior Court on Monday.

Ellison was indicted by grand jury on Jan. 17 on a charge of first-degree murder and an alternative charge of second-degree murder. He is accused of causing the death of Robert McMillan on Dec. 9, 2005.

McMillan was 84 years old when he died in a fire at his North State Street duplex near the state prison.

McMillan needed help getting around and his live-in caretaker was not home on the night of the fire. McMillan was rescued by first-responders but later died in a Massachusetts hospital. An autopsy ruled his death was caused by “thermal injury.”

The fire was ruled an arson and McMillan’s death a homicide, but no charges were brought until Ellison’s arrest in October. Ellison was in custody at the Strafford County House of Corrections for an unrelated crime at the time of his arrest.

Ellison’s criminal history includes aiding two robberies in Concord and a case of attempted arson.

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