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Madbury trio charged with murder said to be friends with victim
From left, Zachary Pinette, Michael Tatum, and Tristan Wolusky.
State police arrested the three after a round-the-clock investigation that began last Saturday morning with several law enforcement agencies in New Hampshire and Maine, said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin, chief of the state’s homicide unit.
The three were ordered held without bail on Thursday by Judge Stephen Morrison during their arraignments in 7th Circuit Court, Dover Division.
Strelzin would not say where the murder occurred on the property.
Pinette is accused of driving Wolusky and Tatum from a location in Maine to the Madbury house, according to a court complaint. Pinette was allegedly holding a machete while Tatum and Wolusky were armed with knives, stabbing Wilkinson, the complaint says. Wilkinson was also stabbed with the machete at some point, state police said.
“He would hang out with them,” said Chris Cote, 19, of Dover, a longtime friend Wilkinson’s. “He would skate with them. They were his friends, but apparently not.”
“I think it’s jealousy,” he said. “I think he finally got a really good-looking girl and they got jealous.”
“They wanted him to suffer slowly and they succeeded,” Cote added.
Staff and administrators at Great Bay Charter School, where Wilkinson once attended school, described him as a sweet soul with a quick smile and an eagerness to share his prowess on the skateboard with anyone who wanted to learn.
“I don’t know why they would want to hurt somebody who was just a kind, kind, kind boy,” Clark added.
Wilkinson attended the charter school for three years beginning in his sophomore year, Clark said. He previously attended Dover public schools, she said.
Clark said she didn’t know why Wilkinson withdrew from the charter school in April, so close to graduation.
They will present it to Wilkinson’s father, Paul R. Carroll, Friday night at a candlelight vigil at which they are planning to celebrate their friend’s life. The vigil will be held from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Swasey Park in Exeter.
Carroll thanked all the police agencies involved in the two-state investigation and the state Attorney General’s Office.
“I tip my hat to these people for their professionalism and their compassion. They’re excellent,” Carroll said.
According to the New Hampshire court system, none of the three suspects has a criminal record.
Only Wolusky has a prior offense, which was a 2009 violation-level charge for possession of tobacco by a minor. He pleaded guilty and was ordered to perform five days of community service.
The three suspects, who entered no plea in court Thursday, are facing the possibility of life without parole if they are convicted by a jury. A probable cause hearing for the trio is set for July 14.
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