Prosecutors says ex-wife forced at gunpoint into vacant Exeter concrete plant where throat was slit
BRENTWOOD - Prosecutors said on Friday that a gun was used to force Amanda "Amy" Warf into a vacant Exeter concrete plant where she was killed last month, and that the murder plot may have been hatched as early as January.
New details in the alleged murder plot emerged at a bail hearing for Sarah Desjardins, who was ordered held on $50,000 cash or surety on charges she helped carrying out the murder on March 7 with her husband, Aaron Desjardins, and his sister, Michele Corson.
Sarah Desjardins' defense attorney, Emily McLaughlin, asked a judge to lower her $250,000 cash bail to $5,000 cash, arguing that she has been cooperative with authorities, isn't a flight risk and would be able to continue living in Nashua with her brother, which is where she was staying before she turned herself in to Exeter police last week. The 34-year-old Epping woman is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of conspiracy to commit hindering apprehension or prosecution.
Her husband, Aaron Desjardins, 36, of Epping, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his ex-wife. He is accused of slitting Warf's throat.
Corson, 43, of Skowhegan, Maine, is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and one count of accomplice to first-degree murder. She waived rendition in Maine and is expected to be returned to New Hampshire to face the charges.
Judge Mark Weaver agreed with prosecutors' request to set bail at $50,000 at Friday's hearing in the 10th Circuit Court-District Division in Brentwood.
At Friday's bail hearing, Jay McCormack, an attorney with the state Attorney General's Office, argued that Sarah Desjardins was directly involved in a murder plan.
"It's important that this court knows that three people conspired for months during the course of this conspiracy that ultimately led to Amy Warf's death," he said. He said Sarah Desjardins gave a false alibi to investigators when asked about her husband's whereabouts on the morning of the killing. He said Aaron Desjardins told authorities that his wife and sister were his alibi witnesses and repeatedly told the two to "stick to the story that we were in bed at the time and advised (his wife) not to speak to the police."
"The defendant (Sarah Desjardins) made many statements regarding the conspiracy, which again was the agreement to kill Amy Warf. She said that there was a loose plan to kill Amy, which could have dated as far back as January. She said that in the three weeks prior to Amy's death, she spoke with Aaron about 10 times about the plan to kill Amy. She said in February, at Aaron's request, she sent Michele Corson a text message, who lived in Maine at the time, to bring a roasting pan with her. The defendant said that at the time that she sent the text message, the plan to kill Amy was already in place and she knew that roasting plan was code for gun," McCormack said.
Corson then allegedly brought the gun to Aaron Desjardins on March 6. "Aaron used the gun to coerce Amy into the concrete factory," McCormack said.
Aaron Desjardins has also told investigators that he and his wife "decided to kill Amy and that both of them planned and executed it. He said that (his wife) knew exactly what was going on and it was just as much her plan as it was (his) to kill Amy," McCormack said.
But McLaughlin said the only evidence prosecutors have against Sarah Desjardins are statements of "her knowledge of her husband's homicidal ideation. She never felt like that homicidal ideation was serious."
However, McLaughlin said that on the day before the murder, Sarah Desjardins took her husband to see a counselor. Since her husband's arrest, she has tried to distance herself from him.
She took off her wedding. ring. She moved out of the family home. She moved all of her belongings out of the family home, McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said her client has been "extraordinarily emotionally affected" by the allegations and has suffered bouts of stress.
"This is a case where there were long conversations by state police and the Exeter Police Department with Sarah Desjardins. On not one occasion did she refuse to speak with them. In fact, on five different occasions she subjected herself to lengthy interrogations, sometimes up over 10 hours," she said.