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Manchester man faces first-degree assault in syringe attack

MANCHESTER - A city man is accused of stabbing his 78-year-old neighbor in the back of the neck with a syringe, then telling her "he had poisoned her" and "she was going to die," police allege.

Richard Crawford, 48, allegedly assaulted Leona Laplante inside her 150 River Road apartment about 3:45 p.m. Friday. The syringe turned out to be pre-filled with insulin.

Crawford, who lives in the same building, knocked on Laplante's door, claiming he wanted to talk to her about another tenant, police said. When Laplante asked him to leave, Crawford told her she had something in her hair and he reached behind her.

Laplante told police she heard "two clicks" and felt a poke in the back of her neck. Crawford claimed he had just "poisoned her and that she was going to die," police said. Crawford allegedly tried to take the phone from Laplante when she tried to call police.

Since insulin can be harmful and potentially life-threatening to someone who is not diabetic, Laplante went to a local hospital for treatment and observation. She was later released from the hospital.

Crawford is charged with first-degree assault, criminal threatening, criminal trespass, and obstructing the report of a crime.

Crawford was arraigned Monday in 9th Circuit Court,Manchester District Division,  where he could enter no plea to the felony assault charge, so a probable cause hearing was set for March 7.
Crawford pleaded innocent to the misdemeanor charges and trial was set for March 26.
Because Crawford's criminal history consisted of a resisting arrest charge in 1987, Judge Gregory Michael reduced the bail to $20,000 cash/surety. 



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