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One expected to plead guilty in pair's Hampton Fall standoff

Union Leader Correspondent

August 07. 2014 8:12PM


BRENTWOOD — One of the people involved in an eight-hour standoff with police at a Hampton Falls apartment building is expected to plead guilty to charges instead of going forward with a trial, prosecutors said.

Daren Gragg, 37, has struck a plea deal with county prosecutors to resolve a variety of charges n Rockingham County Superior Court, including burglary, receiving stolen property and falsifying physical evidence.

He was charged alongside his girlfriend, Melissa Amato, 32. The two allegedly barricaded themselves inside a neighbor’s apartment in Hampton Falls on Jan. 14 when police came to their residence to question them about an investigation out of Amesbury, Mass.

Hampton Falls police called on the New Hampshire State Police SWAT Unit when Gragg and Amato allegedly refused to comply with orders to surrender. Earlier in the day, Amesbury, Mass., police attempted to pull over the couple, police said.

Prosecutors say Gragg and Amato had broken into a neighbor’s apartment during the standoff. They allegedly stole numerous items, including an assortment of knifes and a laptop computer, according to court records.

Police also found Gragg in possession of a .45-caliber handgun and a dagger at the time of his arrest, according to indictments.

Gragg faces 15 charges total. He is expected to change his plea and be sentenced at a hearing on Aug. 29.

Amato faces nine charges, including burglary, falsifying physical evidence and receiving stolen property. Prosecutors said she was found in possession of bank or identification cards belonging to at least seven different people.

The couple was also indicted for burglarizing a business on Lafayette Road in Seabrook on Jan. 2. And Amato was charged with stealing $229 worth of merchandise from a Wal-Mart store in Seabrook on Dec. 30, according to court records.

Gragg and Amato are both facing Class B felonies, punishable by up to 3½ to seven years in prison and a $4,000 fine. Gragg is being held on bail at the Rockingham County jail.

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