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N.Y. fugitive pleads not guilty to murder and arson charges

Union Leader Correspondent

July 14. 2011 10:48PM


KEENE - The New York fugitive who holed up in a Gilsum house Wednesday night, keeping dozens of police officers at bay, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and two counts of arson, first- and second-degree.

Matthew A. Slocum, 23, was wanted by authorities in four states after he allegedly set a fatal house fire in White Creek, N.Y., about 4 a.m. Wednesday, then kidnapped his 4-month-old son, Raymond, and the boy's mother, Loretta Colegrove.

He freed the woman and child and surrendered to authorities late Wednesday night in Gilsum, then waived his extradition to New York Thursday morning in the 8th Circuit Court in Keene.

He appeared in White Creek Town Court, New York, Thursday night.

According to officials, the victims were shot before the fire started. They include Slocum's mother, Lisa Harrington, her husband, Dan Harrington - White Creek's deputy highway superintendent - and Dan Harrington's son, Josh Harrington.

In New Hampshire, Assistant Cheshire County Attorney David Lauren said Slocum's court records were sealed because of the 'ongoing case in New York.'

Evidence in the case, including the 2003 black Ford Mustang that Matthew Slocum used to drive from White Creek to Gilsum, will also be turned over to New York authorities, Lauren said.

The Wednesday search for Slocum zeroed in on the small town of Gilsum after Sharlene Maguire returned to her Maguire Drive home after work around 4 p.m. and found the Mustang parked in her driveway, her neighbor and brother Harlen Maguire said Thursday.

'When she came home from work, she saw this car up there and she asked me if I put it there,' he said.

He told her he had not seen the car before.

'When she reported it to police, they wouldn't let her return home,' he said.

The Maguire Drive home is about a quarter-mile from the Banks Court home Slocum was hiding in. Neighbors said Scott and Jennifer Slocum live at 3 Banks Court; Matthew Slocum is their nephew.

Tawni Martin, who lives nearby on Banks Road, said her family was evacuated from their home Wednesday night around 5:15 p.m., and were not allowed to return during the five-hour standoff.

New Hampshire State Police Col. Robert L. Quinn said about 17 homes surrounding the Banks Court home Slocum was in were evacuated.

Authorities refuse to comment on the homeowners, Scott and Jennifer Slocum.

But Tawni Martin said the Slocums and their two little girls had been out Wednesday. She said when the family returned home, they encountered a police blockade and were diverted to the Main Street Post Office, which police used as a headquarters during the standoff.

A man who answered the phone Thursday at Scott and Jennifer Slocum's home said the couple was unavailable for comment.

Authorities issued an Amber Alert Wednesday that said Matthew Slocum was armed and holding his son and Colegrove against their will. After the standoff, Quinn would not say if Slocum was armed.

Washington County Sheriff Roger Leclaire said Thursday that Matthew Slocum cooperated with investigators when interviewed late Wednesday.

The Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y., reported that Slocum's girlfriend, Loretta Colegrove, cooperated with investigators after Slocum surrendered Wednesday night and told investigators that she witnessed Slocum start the fatal fire.

Colegrove was with relatives in Massachusetts on Thursday, the Post-Star reported.

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