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Neighbors see no justice in AG's ruling on Nashua couple's murder

Union Leader Correspondent

August 23. 2013 9:13PM
At left is the home of William and Eleanor Grant of Newbury Street in Nashua, who were both stabbed to death inside their residence earlier this summer. At right is the apartment complex where their accused killer, Shawn Burne, resided on the top floor before committing suicide a few days after the murders. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON/Union Leader Correspondent)

NASHUA — Neighbors say that justice cannot be served now that the person likely responsible for the murders of an elderly couple on Newbury Street has committed suicide.

Authorities said Thursday that a deceased neighbor of William and Eleanor Grant, the couple brutally stabbed to death inside their home earlier this summer, is likely responsible for their murders.

The neighbor, Shawn P. Burne, killed himself a few days after allegedly robbing the Grants and murdering them both, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.

“This will never be brought to justice now, unfortunately,” said Jennifer Barry, who lives nearby at 3 Cherry St. “It was so cowardly.”

Barry said the entire situation happening so close to her residence is unsettling.

“We didn’t think anything would happen like that in this area,” she said this week.

The bodies of William and Eleanor Grant, ages 83 and 78 respectively, were discovered June 17 in their home at 37 Newbury St. Investigators say circumstantial evidence was gathered that identified Burne, of 41 Newbury St., as the prime suspect.

Burne lived on the third-floor of the six-unit house directly next to the Grant home. Before the murders, the landlord at Burne’s building had set up security cameras because of undisclosed activity on the upper level, according to neighbors.

Those front-entry cameras, however, were temporarily disconnected the weekend before the Grants’ killings, said neighbors. The surveillance cameras were quickly reinstalled after the double homicide, and an additional camera was mounted in the rear, they said.

Ten days after the Grants were found stabbed to death, police discovered Burne dead in his apartment of an intentional drug overdose from a cocktail of medications, according to the Attorney General’s Office. There was a note left in Burne’s apartment. Investigators said Burne denied killing the Grants in the note.

“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,” said a statement from the Attorney General’s Office. “Since the level of proof against (Burne) at this point does not rise to beyond a reasonable doubt, the Nashua Police Department will not permanently close the investigation into the murders.”

However, the attorney general said there are no other obvious suspects in the case, and no one else is being sought in connection with the murders.

“It was pretty safe in this neighborhood until all of this happened this summer,” said Adam Lemon, a Cherry Street resident.

It has shaken Lemon’s sense of security in the city, but he said it isn’t something he worries about often.

“I don’t do anything different now,” he said, adding he has always tried to be on alert.

A woman who lives in the same apartment complex where Burne resided said Thursday, “I was absolutely surprised,” upon learning of who was likely responsible for the violent deaths of her neighbors.

The resident, who declined to provide her name, said she did not know the Grants personally. But said it was shocking to discover that someone in her building could have been responsible for such a violent crime.

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