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Man accused in Wilmot home explosion wants evidence thrown out



Monitor staff
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A man accused of stealing copper from a Wilmot cottage just minutes before it exploded is trying to get evidence against him obtained through search warrants thrown out.

Shane Fortier, 30, of Wilmot, who could stand trial as early as September, is arguing that the New Hampshire fire marshal’s office went on a “fishing expedition” for any information that could be damaging and did not have probable cause that “the explosion was anything other than an accident.”

Fortier faces charges of second-degree assault, falsifying physical evidence and burglary in connection with the incident at 543 Route 4A on the morning of May 1, 2017. He also faces a felony charge under the mechanical licensing statute for allegedly cutting the fuel gas fitting or plumbing resulting in serious injury to the homeowner’s son.

Christopher Beaucher suffered second-degree burns on his hands, face and neck in the blast at his mother’s cottage, which he had stopped to check on that day. When he noticed copper piping missing from the main portion of the home, he continued to the basement where he turned on a light, which triggered the blast.

The house was completely destroyed in the explosion.

Fortier and Adam Dalton were arrested in December 2017 after a monthslong investigation by state investigators and Wilmot police. Dalton faces additional charges of falsifying physical evidence and witness tampering. His trial is scheduled for mid-November.

Both men are out of jail on bail conditions.

In recent motions filed in Merrimack County Superior Court, public defender Megan De Vorsey asks a judge to suppress all phone records seized from Fortier’s Verizon phone, as well as any evidence obtained in searches of Fortier’s truck and residence.

While serving warrants in late July, De Vorsey argues, state fire investigator Adam Fanjoy seized Fortier’s phone, looking for messages in support of an expanded warrant and under the assumption that Fortier was dealing drugs.

Authorities said they had located pills and other contraband at the home, and as a result charged Fortier with a felony drug offense.

A hearing on the motions to suppress has not yet been scheduled.