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Home » News » Crime

September 24. 2013 9:41PM

Jail chief: Murder conspirator Jesse Brooks used mom to pay inmates

MANCHESTER — Murder-conspirator Jesse Brooks — who is seeking a new trial — used his family wealth to lead a small cadre of fellow inmates at the Valley Street jail five years ago and even orchestrated a sit-in of 40 inmates, the jail superintendent said.
Superintendent David Dionne said jail officials feared that Brooks was controlling inmates with money and monitoring the behavior of corrections officers so he could possibly plot an escape.
Brooks' mother, Lorraine Brooks, was spotted placing $100 deposits into the accounts of two fellow inmates, Dionne said.

Superintendent David Dionne said jail officials feared that Brooks was controlling inmates with money and monitoring the behavior of corrections officers so he could possibly plot an escape.

Brooks' mother, Lorraine Brooks, was spotted placing $100 deposits into the accounts of two fellow inmates, Dionne said.

"Our concern was, this guy's a millionaire," the jail superintendent said last week in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. "What's one hundred bucks to him? Having 40 inmates sit down, and you go in, it escalates, people get hurt, people get killed. That's a concern.

"Our inmates are supposed to listen to us, not other inmates."

Through a spokesman, Mrs. Brooks admitted putting money in the accounts of inmates, but she said she did so to provide them with food and basic necessities.

"After seeing the deplorable way inmates had been treated at the Valley Street jail, I donated small amounts of money to the accounts of prisoners who had befriended my son," she said in a statement Monday.

Jesse Brooks is hoping for a new trial on his 2009 murder-conspiracy conviction in the 2005 murder of handyman Jack Reed of Derry. His father was convicted of murder-for-hire in Reed's death and is serving a life sentence.

Mrs. Brooks has hired a team of lawyers, investigators and a spokesman to win her son's release.

At a news conference earlier this month, they complained that the younger Brooks has been moved from prison to prison.

He was first moved from New Hampshire to Arizona, and then to three separate prisons in Arizona.

They described the junior Brooks as a model inmate who is well-liked but suffers psychologically from the frequent transfers.

They said he is in physical pain because officials withhold the morphine he needs to treat a chronic back problem.

His team expects to file a federal lawsuit challenging his treatment in prison. Brooks is serving a 15- to 30-year sentence.

"The guards grow to love this guy," Paul Ciolino, an investigator on the Brooks team, said two weeks ago. "He's a good guy to have around, a guy who de-escalates problems, not escalates issues."

Dionne paints a different picture of Brooks, who was at the Valley Street jail from March to September 2008 awaiting trial.

Dionne said an investigation determined that Brooks had his mother deposit $100 each into commissary accounts of two inmates, Paul Perry and Edward Gray. They could keep some of the money, but were instructed to buy items such as coffee, junk food, soaps and other items to dole out to inmates at Brooks' instruction.

That's how Brooks orchestrated the 40-inmate sit-in, Dionne said.

He also believes inmates started fights so Brooks could see how the guards reacted. Dionne said he transferred Brooks out of Valley Street jail once he became aware of the network.

He said Mrs. Brooks can legally deposit money into the account of any inmate she wants. But jail regulations prohibit inmates from telling an outsider to deposit money into another inmate's commissary account.

Brooks spokesman Casey Sherman said Brooks was never charged with orchestrating a sit-in. He said Dionne's statements represent the image that authorities crafted of Brooks to get him out of state.

Mrs. Brooks said she gives money to inmates on occasion, but not at the direction of her son.

"This was merely an act of charity to provide them with food and basic necessities and not an enticement to commit any wrongdoing," she said in her statement. She said her son was a model prisoner in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire corrections officials have refused to explain why Brooks was transferred to Arizona. Arizona officials refer questions about Brooks' transfers within Arizona prisons to New Hampshire authorities.

He is in close custody in Arizona, a classification given to inmates who are deemed a "high risk to the public and staff," according to Arizona corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux. Close custody inmates require "controlled movement" and are housed in two-person cells, he said.

They are placed in close custody for a number of reasons, including their criminal record, escape history, institutional violence, age, gang affiliation and length of sentence, he said.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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