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Brielle Gage of Nashua would have turned 4 earlier this year; she died last fall from blunt-force trauma. (Courtesy))

Nashua mom claims falls killed tot


NASHUA — New details are being released about the injuries suffered by 3-year-old Brielle Gage before her murder last fall, including the final moments leading up to her death.

Katlyn Marin, 26, is facing alternative counts of second-degree murder and manslaughter for allegedly assaulting Brielle multiple times last Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 at their home on Oak Street.

According to recently released court records, while officer Ross Desmet performed CPR on the girl, Marin told police that Brielle was not feeling well on Nov. 24, and that when Brielle woke to use the bathroom, “she appeared to have a seizure where she fell down the flight of stairs,” court documents state.

Marin said she attempted to grab Brielle, however she also fell down the stairs. She told police she splashed water on the girl’s face and brought a futon into her daughter’s bedroom to monitor her for the night.

“According to Katlyn, she woke three or four times to check on Brielle, who was responsive,” court documents state. The following morning, Brielle was having trouble walking, and she again fell near the stairs, striking her head on the floor, Marin told police.

“Katlyn picked up Brielle to carry her downstairs, lost her footing and both she and Brielle fell down the stairs (again),” court records say. After the girl was unresponsive, Marin called 911.

Brielle was transported to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Dr. Thomas Andrew, the chief medical examiner who conducted the child’s autopsy, concluded that Brielle’s injuries were not consistent with falling down the stairs. He instead told police that they should be looking for a baseball bat or other object such as a door knob or dresser drawer knob.

Significant bruising

Andrew reported that he found significant bruising on both of Brielle’s ears.

“He noted that her ears had been manipulated so roughly that it caused bleeding to her scalp,” state court records on file at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua state. “ ...Clusters of bruises were discovered consistent with punching and poking. Two fractured ribs were located on Brielle’s right side.”

She also suffered bruises on her trunk area, a linear line and large round mark on her head, a broken finger and noticeable contusions to her lungs, newly filed court documents state.

Andrew’s autopsy determined that the girl’s death was the result of brain swelling from an impact injury. However, the doctor was unable to determine if there was more than one episode of trauma to her head that caused the fatality.

Search warrant challenges

Earlier this month, defense attorneys Justin Shepherd and Paul Garrity filed a motion to suppress evidence seized following two search warrants executed at Marin’s residence; according to court documents, two baseball bats were seized, along with several other objects. The defense is in the process of drafting a motion to suppress Marin’s statements to police, according to court records.

Marin’s defense team is claiming that the search warrant affidavit failed to establish probable cause, and that it was obtained prior to Brielle’s manner and cause of death being determined.

In court records, the attorneys allege that investigators “exceeded the scope of the initial search warrant and prior to obtaining a second amended search warrant when they searched various binders and medical records belonging to (Marin) and pertaining to her children,” which included DCYF proceedings.

“The Nashua police jumped the gun. Police were halfway finished with executing the search warrant when information was relayed to them from the chief forensic examiner indicating that he ‘did not like the falling down the stairs theory,’” the defense team claims in court documents, alleging the seizure of Marin’s cell phone was not authorized.

The defense attorneys have filed a motion to have the indictments against Marin dismissed, or require the state to provide a bill of particulars, essentially more detailed information.

They argue that the indictments are duplicates, fail to protect their client against double jeopardy and fail to articulate precisely what physical act caused Brielle’s death.

Assistant Attorney General Patrick Queenan is asking the court for additional time to respond to Marin’s motion to suppress, noting his work on several unrelated criminal investigations and hearings.

A hearing on the motion has been scheduled for Nov. 23 at the Nashua court.

khoughton@newstote.com


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