Aug 21, 2014
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Charges dropped in fatal 1989 Keene arson fire
State prosecutors said they decided not to retry McLeod, 57, in April because — absent any new evidence or legal avenues — it would result in another mistrial. He had been arrested in 2010 for allegedly setting a fire in a Keene apartment building in 1989 that killed a family of four.
Rundles said the investigation continues and the case remains open, noting there is no statute of limitations on a homicide case.
McLeod is accused of setting fire to the 89 High St. apartment building, killing newlyweds Carl and Lori Hina, their 4-month-old daughter, Lillian Hina, and Sara Hina, Carl’s 12-year-old daughter. McLeod moved to California shortly after the Jan. 14, 1989, fire.
McLeod allegedly bragged about setting fire to the apartment house, where his ex-girlfriend also lived. According to court records, McLeod was jealous that his former girlfriend, Wanda Ford, was dating other men.
The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict; a mistrial was declared. A second trial was set for this April.
In a statement Thursday, New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster said the decision not to retry McLeod was based on an extensive review.
The state said a ruling that statements made by a key witness, Sandra Walker, were inadmissible at trial was a setback for the prosecution. Walker died from cancer after the fire.
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