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Officers in Greenland shootout ask judge to reconsider lawsuit
Cullen Mutrie, 29, had been barred from having weapons when he opened fire on police April 12, killing Greenland police Chief Michael Maloney. (COURTESY)
BRENTWOOD – Four police officers who filed a lawsuit against the mother of Cullen Mutrie say a pair of July 2010 police reports prove that she provided firearms to her son.
Lawyer Christopher Grant argued in Rockingham County Superior Court this week that the reports should be enough for Judge Kenneth McHugh to reconsider his decision that Beverly Mutrie cannot be held legally responsible for the deadly April 12 shootout her son had with police.
Cullen Mutrie shot and killed Greenland police Chief Michael Maloney during a gun battle that ensued while Maloney and the officers attempted to execute a no-knock search warrant.
The surviving officers have gone to claim in their lawsuit that Cullen Mutrie's mother, Beverly, can be held civilly liable because she supported her son financially and let him live in the Greenland house she owned.
McHugh largely rejected that argument in October, saying he must dismiss the officer's claims due to a lack of evidence.
“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.
Grant argued in a request filed Thursday that Beverly Mutrie could be held responsible for her son's behavior because she owned the firearms and the Greenland home where the shooting took place.
“Property owners are responsible for and are liable for harm caused to others as a result of criminal conduct,” Grant said in his argument.
Grant's request comes in advance of a Dec. 19 hearing so McHugh can decide whether the officers have any evidence that Beverly Mutrie provided firearms to her son.
The July 2010 reports summarize actions Greenland police undertook to seize weapons from Cullen Mutrie once an ex-girlfriend filed a protective order against him. Beverly Mutrie objected to police officers taking the weapons, saying they belonged to her, according to Grant.
Days later, police went to the Beverly Mutrie's home in North Hampton – a home that her son frequented – and seized another 45 firearms, Grant said.
“(Beverly) Mutrie told us the guns belonged to her,” Greenland Det. David Kurkul wrote in the July 27, 2010 report. Police said they seized the weapons because Cullen Mutrie had access to them in defiance of the court's protective order.
In his October decision, McHugh took issue with the officer's claims that Beverly Mutrie may have provided the weapons to her son, saying the lawsuit “did not contain any facts on how she did so.”
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