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Housemate testifies dispute began over bathroom
Gary Fields of Laconia testified for the state in the negligent homcide trial of Jason Durgin, Monday, in Belknap County Superior Court. (PAULA TRACY/UNION LEADER)
LACONIA — Gary Fields said he remembers Jason Durgin “kind of yelling” at Leo LaPierre about the condition of the bathroom at the home they shared, but did not witness an assault, as the state alleges.
Fields, testifying Monday in Belknap Superior Court, said LaPierre was intoxicated last May 2 and had locked himself in the bathroom at a home they all shared with Durgin, the night before LaPierre was found unconscious in the yard.
Fields, who took the stand on behalf of the state, said LaPierre had “made a mess” of the bathroom and when he came out, there was water all over the floor and water was spewing out of a pipe.
Fields, who said he was sober, helped LaPierre out of the bathroom and was cleaning the floor when he heard Durgin shouting, and that he heard two thumps, but did not witness an attack.
But he also said he later that night helped LaPierre outside to the concrete steps of the trailer and went to bed.
Durgin, 38, stands accused of negligent homicide and other charges related to the death of the 55-year-old man, whom he had taken in.
Like LaPierre and Tracy Hebert, who said she witnessed the attack, Fields said he had nowhere else to live at the time, and that Durgin had taken them in.
Fields said he was on probation at the time, and probably should not have been living there as a condition of his probation.
“I didn't want to be there but I had no choice,” he said. “I had nowhere else to go.”
Hebert took the stand last week saying she saw Durgin strike LaPierre in the face then kick him in the head when he was unconscious as she told him to stop.
Fields said he was in the bathroom about 10 minutes cleaning things up and did not hear Hebert yelling at Durgin, nor Durgin threatening to kill her, her mother or her children, as she has alleged.
She maintains she lied to police initially because she was scared of the defendant.
Laconia Police Detective Kevin Butler, who responded to the trailer at 399 South Main St., May 3, 2011, at 11:37 a.m. said he spoke to Durgin at the scene and he appeared dirty, with the stale smell of alcohol from the night before.
He said the defendant was also angry and agitated and denied knowing what had happened to LaPierre.
The jury trial continues before Judge James O'Neill today.
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