Not-guilty plea expected in death at Danville chief's home
DANVILLE — Police Chief Wade Parsons is expected to plead not guilty to charges he failed to secure a firearm that authorities say was later used by a teenager to commit suicide.
"It's our view that Chief Parsons has not committed any infraction or breach of the law, but under the circumstances it's something that we will deal with in the court system," his defense attorney, Alan Cronheim of Sisti Law Offices, said Thursday.
Parsons, 54, will enter the plea at his arraignment June 17 in the 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow on one count of negligent storage of a firearm.
He is accused of leaving his Glock 22 .40-caliber handgun unsecured on top of a safe inside his home at 53 Caramel Drive on March 11.
Rockingham County Attorney James Reams has said Parsons didn't take the final steps to secure the gun before he left the house to run errands.
While Parsons was gone, his girlfriend's 15-year-old son, Jacob Carver, shot himself. Reams described the shooting as a suicide; the autopsy results were not released at the request of the boy's family.
"This is a sad family circumstance. It's a sad circumstance for the community. A family and a community have lost a teenager," Cronheim said.
The charge — a violation punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 — resulted from an investigation by New Hampshire State Police and a review by the County Attorney's Office.
Under state law, a firearm owner can be charged if a weapon is not properly secured and is accessed by someone under the age of 16.
The state statute used in the case against Parsons is RSA 650-C:1 and reads: "Any person who stores or leaves on premises under that person's control a loaded firearm, and who knows or reasonably should know that a child (under the age of 16) is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child's parent or guardian, is guilty of a violation if a child gains access to a firearm and the firearm is used in a reckless or threatening manner; the firearm is used during the commission of any misdemeanor or felony; or the firearm is negligently or recklessly discharged."
Reams has assigned prosecutor Terri Harrington to handle the case.
Selectmen have supported Parsons, and took no action against him. He is an elected chief and remains on the job.