Testimony: Littleton shooting victim was police informantBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
June 17. 2016 9:10PM
PLYMOUTH — Authorities on Friday said that the Littleton man who was shot and killed last month was a confidential informant for a local police department, although no direct motive has yet been disclosed for his murder.
Robert Pierog, 22, was found dead outside his apartment at 124 West Main St. shortly after 10:30 p.m. on May 27, the victim of multiple gunshots from what prosecutors say was a .22 caliber rifle fired by Damion Yeargle, 21, of Littleton.
Charged with one count of first-degree murder, Yeargle appeared Friday afternoon for a probable-cause hearing before Judge Thomas Rappa in Plymouth District Court, during which Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward and Detective Sgt. Justin Rowe, of the New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit, laid out the cases against Yeargle and two other men.
Nicholas T. Skidmore, 21, of Littleton, has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution while Quade Kadle, 18, of Jefferson, faces one count of being an accomplice to first-degree murder.
While Rappa found probable cause for Yeargle to be indicted by a Grafton County Grand Jury, both Skidmore and Kadle waived their hearings, which had also been set for Friday.
Under questioning from Ward, Rowe said upon arrival at the murder scene investigators quickly located an eyewitness who told them he saw Yeargle fire four shots at Pierog from a distance of about five feet.
During his testimony Rowe said the witness to the shooting said it was “well known to the community” that Pierog had been a confidential informant.
Rowe, under cross examination by Yeargle’s defense attorney Ted Lothstein, later confirmed that Pierog, faced with theft and/or burglary charges, decided to cooperate with Bethlehem police both by identifying suspected drug dealers and also by making controlled buys.
The witness, who was in Pierog’s apartment with Pierog and Pierog’s wife, told police that Kadle had come to the door looking for the witness on behalf of Skidmore who said he needed a place to spend the night.
Both the witness and Pierog told him that Skidmore could sleep there, said Rowe. They then exited the apartment and walked down a flight of stairs where Yeargle was waiting.
After the shooting, Skidmore allegedly drove Yeargle and Kadle away in Kadle’s maroon-colored Buick Park Avenue, travelling backroads in Littleton and Lancaster before crossing the Connecticut River into Vermont, where they stopped at a convenience store to buy gas and cigarettes.
Along the route, the trio discarded latex gloves and bandanas Kadle and Yeargle had purchased at the Littleton Walmart immediately prior to going to Pierog’s residence, Rowe said.
They also threw the rifle out the window, he said.
Rowe said that Yeargle, upset that he was being accused online of shooting Pierog, reached out on May 28 to the Littleton Police Department and asked them to search his home in an effort to clear himself.
The three men gave statements to Littleton police that on the day of Pierog’s murder they had all been trying to fix the gas line on Kadle’s car, but unable to find the right parts or equipment, decided to instead get some beers and go down to a swimming spot, Perkins Landing, in Littleton.
Rowe said discrepancies in their descriptions of their activities that day, what police learned about the rifle from the eyewitness and a search of Yeargle’s home that turned up a sales receipt for the bandanas and gloves prompted police to ask Skidmore to come back for a second interview.
During that session, Skidmore’s story changed, said Rowe. He said Skidmore admitted that he had once owned the rifle but traded it to Yeargle for drugs.
Rowe testified that Skidmore told police he drove Yeargle to pick up the rifle at Yeargle’s house and drove Yeargle and Kadle to the Walmart.
As they approached Pierog’s home, all three men donned the latex gloves and the bandanas as disguises, Rowe said.
Rowe said several bandanas and gloves and the rifle and an empty magazine clip were later found with Skidmore’s assistance. Police are awaiting test results on those items.