Judge orders prosecutors to disclose more details in Portsmouth bat beating probe
BRENTWOOD — A judge has ordered prosecutors to give more details about a case they may be building against a second suspect in a violent home invasion in Portsmouth where two people were beaten with a baseball bat by a masked intruder.
Terrence Hartley, formerly of Hampton, is already serving a 15- to 30-year prison sentence for carrying out the Sept. 22, 2013 attack.
But prosecutors are now fighting an effort in Rockingham County Superior Court to have some of his property returned to Hartley’s friend because of an investigation into a second suspect.
Judge N. William Delker ordered prosecutors to outline items belonging to Hartley that are being examined during the investigation into the unnamed suspect.
“The state shall submit further information about whether any of the property is evidence in an ongoing investigation,” Delker said in an order. “The response shall set forth with particularity which items have evidentiary value and why.”
All items not identified as evidence in the current investigation shall be returned to Hartley’s custody within 30 days, Delker ordered.
Hartley’s public defender, Julia Nye, asked a judge to release her client’s property seized by police, which included a leather jacket, motorcycle boots, a title to a truck and a cell phone.
Prosecutors suggested that lab results now pending with an undisclosed piece of evidence may ultimately decide whether a second arrest is made.
Hartley, 48, pleaded guilty in March to burglary and two counts of first-degree assault for beating a man and his uncle’s estranged wife inside the home. On the night of the assault, the couple was awoken from bed around 1:30 a.m. by the sound of glass shattering. Hartley broke a sliding glass door to enter the home.
Prosecutors told Delker in court papers filed in July that the state needs to keep evidence related to Hartley’s case because Portsmouth police are continuing to investigate an alleged co-conspirator.
“The police have been actively investigating this co-conspirator since the evening the crimes took place,” Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said in court papers.
Prosecutors have not disclosed what exactly is being tested.
When police canvassed the area on the night of the assault, they found a small aluminum bat in a wooded area between Simonds Road and Maple Haven Park, according to court records.
Prosecutors noted in an earlier court filing that a conversation Hartley had with his uncle on the night of his arrest led police to seize the motorcycle and a purple cardboard box found next to the motorcycle.
The box was for a “Jason-style” Halloween mask, prosecutors said.