Judge disagrees with police lawsuit in Greenland shooting
BRENTWOOD - A judge said he must dismiss a lawsuit by four police officers wounded during a shootout that killed Greenland's police chief in April unless there is proof that the gunman's mother helped provide her son with firearms.
In a strongly worded order, Judge Kenneth McHugh disagreed with the four officers' claims that Beverly Mutrie could be held legally responsible for her son, Cullen Mutrie, who opened fire on the officers when they arrived at his doorstep on April 12 to execute a no-knock search warrant.
"Cullen Mutrie was 29 years old when he engaged in the firefight with police, and there is no evidence to support that (Beverly Mutire) was in a position to control his actions," McHugh said in the order.
The officers claimed that Beverly Mutrie could be held responsible for their injuries because she provided housing, money and other support to her son, despite knowing his alleged involvement in drug activity dating back to 2010.
McHugh's decision comes two months after Beverly Mutrie's lawyer, Donald Smith, argued that the officer's lawsuit could set a new standard in New Hampshire - one where parents would become legally responsible for their children's criminal behavior.
McHugh, instead, took issue with the officer's claims that Beverly Mutrie may have provided the weapons to her son. The judge said the lawsuit "did not contain any facts on how she did so."
McHugh also disagreed with the officer's claims that Mutrie could have inherited a 9mm handgun belonging to his father, who died in 2010.
"These are not facts," McHugh said. "These are assumptions."
The lawsuit says the gun may have been transferred to Cullen Mutrie through a family trust.
McHugh said he will have a hearing on Dec. 19 to decide whether the officers can show any evidence that Beverly Mutrie provided the firearms to her son.
Cullen Mutrie was barred from possessing weapons while appealing a simple assault conviction and awaiting trial on an unrelated felony drug case, which alleged he had steroids at his Post Road home in Greenland.
Moments after the shootout, Mutrie shot to death his ex-girlfriend then turned the gun on himself.
Christopher Grant, an attorney representing the four officers, asked McHugh last week to reconsider his decision on dismissing the lawsuit.
Grant argued that the lawsuit relies on Beverly Mutrie's responsibility as the property owner of where her son lived and allegedly carried out his drug activity.