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Jacket with DNA becomes focus of Portsmouth kidnapping case

Union Leader Correspondent

November 08. 2012 11:52PM
Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway questions Portsmouth Police Detective David Keaveny about the jacket allegedly linked to James Perry. Perry is on trial for attempted kidnapping for allegedly trying to coerce a woman into her car at gunpoint on Dec. 14. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/Union Leader Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD - Detectives had a vague description and only a few leads pointing them to a suspect who attempted to kidnap a woman outside the Ocean State Job Lot on Dec. 14, according to court testimony.

Their main piece of evidence surfaced when a police dog, named Titan, found a down-filled jacket allegedly linked to James Perry, 37, who is now on trial for attempted kidnapping and criminal restraint.

The significance of the jacket turned out to be a point of contention during the second day of Perry's trial. Judge N. William Delker may consider a mistrial after one witness testified Thursday morning that he provided Portsmouth police with photographs of three men wearing jackets similar to what investigators had asked for. The images of the three men came from a man hired to install security cameras around the Gosling Meadows apartments.

Prosecutors said they only learned about the other photos during the man's testimony on Thursday, but argue that the new information does not rise to the level of declaring a mistrial.

Police had spent the early part of their investigation going door-to-door to interview residents at the apartment complex, which sits just opposite of a stretch of woods behind the store.

"We showed them a picture of a jacket and told them we'd appreciate any help they could give," Portsmouth police Detective David Keaveny testified.

Police developed enough information to get a search warrant for an apartment in the complex roughly a month after the attempted abduction on Jan. 16, Keaveny testified.

The exact information police had was not revealed in court.

Perry lived at the apartment with his then-girlfriend, but police came up empty in their search for the gun or clothing described by the victim, according to Keaveny's testimony.

The ex-girlfriend testified briefly about Perry admitting he committed the attempted kidnapping.

State lab workers found Perry's DNA on the jacket along with a "lesser" sample, Keaveny testified.

Defense lawyers said that the "lesser" sample could suggest that another man was the assailant.

Defense lawyer Anthony Naro suggested that police fell short in their investigation by not submitting DNA samples of two other men they suspected during the investigation.

Testimony is expected to resume on Friday.

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James A. Kimble may be reached at

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