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10 abuse charges could add up to long prison term for Justin Roy

Union Leader Correspondent

February 12. 2013 8:02PM

OSSIPEE - The Albany man recently convicted on charges related to the near-fatal beating of a young boy will be sentenced in April.

Carroll County Attorney Robin Gordon confirmed on Tuesday that the defendant, Justin Roy, 34, would face Carroll County Superior Court Judge Steven Houran on April 2 at 9 a.m. for sentencing.

A jury of seven men and five women found Roy guilty on Feb. 4 on all 10 charges related to the Dec. 19, 2011, severe beating of a two-and-half year old boy and lesser assault charges on his 7-year-old and 11-month old brothers.

The jury deliberated at Carroll County Superior Court for about two and a half hours before returning the verdicts before Associate Justice Houran. Deputy County Attorney Susan Boone prosecuted the case. Defense attorneys Wade Harwood and Howard Clayman of the NH Public Defender's office in Laconia represented Roy during the seven-day trial. Roy, 34, of Albany, is being held at Carroll County Jail until sentencing.

He was convicted on 10 charges, including first-degree assault, two counts of kidnapping, three counts of second-degree assault, one count of criminal restraint, one count of simple assault two counts of simple assault.

Gordon said Roy faces "considerable" jail sentence. Since the charges involve a young child, Roy could face an extended sentence of up to a 20-year jail term on each count. Houran had ordered a pre-sentencing investigation prior to sentencing.

The prosecution presented evidence that Roy took the boy, Strider Downs Skidgel, to a shed in the middle of the night on Dec. 19, 2011, and caused life-threatening injuries to his abdomen. Strider, his mother, Heather Downs, 33, and his two brothers, Zander, age 7 and Gallagher, 11 months, lived with Roy in the Golden Oaks mobile home park for about two months until the morning of the attacks. Strider, whom doctors testified almost died, survived three surgeries, several weeks in the hospital, and has since regained his health in the care of other relatives. The defense argued that the state's evidence was circumstantial; that key witness testimony from the boys' mother was unreliable, and claimed that it was she who hurt Strider.

Downs, who was charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of felony witness tampering, was offered immunity for her testimony in the Roy trial. Gordon said Downs still faces a trial on the charges and that as of Tuesday, there has been no decision to drop the complaints.

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