July 01. 2013 11:53AM

Portsmouth bar death deemed a homicide

By Gretyl Macalaster
Union Leader Correspondent

PORTSMOUTH - The chief medical examiner has now confirmed that Joshua Krantz, 24, of Dover died at the hands of another person.

Portsmouth police announced on Monday that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has officially ruled the manner of Krantz's death as a homicide.

It had been previously determined that Krantz's death was caused by a fractured skull resulting in an acute epidural hematoma.

Zachary O'Neil, 24, of Dover is currently facing a charge of first-degree assault for allegedly striking Krantz several times in the head on the dance floor of The Page in the early hours of April 6.

Krantz was found dead in his apartment by his roommates later that morning.

Now that the manner of Krantz's death has been determined, it will be up to the Rockingham County Attorney's office to upgrade or change the charges against O'Neil.

Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams said the determination by the chief medical examiner's office does not tell them much, and a final determination will be based on criminal intent.

"The key to any homicide charge is criminal intent and that … depends on all the circumstances," Reams said. "Technically, the homicide determination means it (the death) was caused by a person. It doesn't give any insight into whether it’s first-degree, second-degree, manslaughter."

Reams said they will take a look at the total picture and see what level of criminal intent they can prove based on the totality of the evidence.

He said it is hard to say right now whether the charges will be upgraded.

"Anything is possible right now. It could stay the same or it could be upgraded. We'll charge it as high as the evidence will allow," Reams said.

As of late Monday morning, Reams said his office had not yet received the medical examiner's report.