Nashua murder trial delayed until AugustBy Kimberly Houghton
Union Leader Correspondent
March 22. 2013 3:43PM
NASHUA -- The upcoming trial for Matthew Packer, the man accused of killing a local EMT in 2011, has been postponed until this summer, according to court documents.
Packer, 20, was scheduled to face trial on a first degree murder charge and two alternative counts of second degree murder this May. However, court records indicate that Packer will now be tried on Aug. 20, allegedly for killing Paul Frontiero III during a fight Oct. 9, 2011 on Spruce Street.
Last month, Judge Diane Nicolosi granted a motion by Packer's defense attorneys seeking to interview one of Packer's former cellmates. The trial was postponed to allow more time for deposition of the potential witness, says court records.
Meanwhile, prosecutors Michael Lewis and Jeffery Strelzin have withdrawn their names as counsel for the state. Instead, Peter Hinckley and Benjamin Agati of the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office will represent the state as prosecutors during the trial, which has been scheduled to last up to three weeks at Hillsborough County Superior Court South in Nashua.
Since Packer's arrest, prosecutors have filed nearly 2,000 sealed pages of discovery following depositions with multiple individuals, including one of Packer's former cellmates, according to court documents.
Representatives from the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office interviewed Robert Ryan, who bunked with Packer during the summer of 2012 at the Hillsborough County House of Corrections.
Now, Packer's defense team will depose Ryan as well, questioning his motive for sharing information with police, says court documents.
Packer previously told authorities that he took out a six-inch pocket knife, but only after being punched in the ear by strangers in the fall of 2011. During a former probable cause hearing, the lead detective in the murder case told a judge that Frontiero died after allegedly being stabbed by Packer 16 times, including one puncture to the heart.
Other vital organs, including Frontiero's lung, left kidney, diaphragm and spleen were damaged from the knife wounds, according to Det. Daniel Mederos.
The defense plans to introduce evidence that Packer was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the time of the attack, and has filed a notice of defense claiming Packer was legally insane during the stabbing, according to court records.
Frontiero was reportedly trying to protect two females when the stabbing took place. Jill Arnold and Kathryn Libby, both of Nashua, were injured in the attack, as Packer also is accused of assaulting them. He has been indicted on related charges of first degree assault, second degree assault and attempted murder.
Frontiero worked for EasCare Ambulance Service out of Dorchester, Mass., and was training to become a paramedic He planned to leave for the Dominican Republic for his second medical mission trip just days after his murder.