NASHUA – Shawn Burne, 37, likely stabbed his elderly neighbors to death in a robbery last June, but investigators say he denied he killed them in a suicide note he left and they don't have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is the killer.
Still, they say they have no other obvious suspects in the murders of William Grant, 83, and his wife Eleanor, 78. A visiting nurse found their bodies on June 17 in their Newbury Street home. They were stabbed to death.
"We're very confident he is the person who killed the Grants," said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery A. Strelzin.
According to a news release issued by New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster and Nashua Police Chief John J. Seusing, evidence police gathered pointed to Burne, who was known to law enforcement and lived next door to the Grants.
Investigators discovered property in his possession that belonged to the Grants and appeared to have been stolen from their home after their deaths.
Burne, police said, lied to detectives about his activities around the time of the murder, adding credence to his status as a suspect.
Detectives focused their investigation on Burne and continued to gather additional circumstantial evidence of his involvement in the killings while they kept him under surveillance.
They soon noticed, however, that he had not left his apartment in some time and, on June 26, they discovered him dead inside his home. He had committed suicide.
An autopsy determined he died from an overdose of venlafaxine and olanzapine, both anti-depressants, and clonazepam, an anti-anxiety medication.
Burne left a suicide note and, in it, he wrote that he did not kill the Grants.
"Nevertheless, based on the totality of the evidence gathered throughout the investigation, there is probable cause to believe that Burne killed William and Eleanor Grant during a robbery," according to the news release.
Investigators, however, said they cannot prove he killed them beyond a reasonable doubt and, therefore, the murder investigation will remain open.
"However, based on the totality of the evidence and reasonable inferences drawn from that evidence, there are no other obvious suspects in the case and today no other person is being sought in connection with the Grants' murders," authorities said in a prepared release.