One year after arrest, competency issues stall Nashua murder caseBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
January 31. 2018 10:53PM
NASHUA — Although it has been more than a year since Devin Tappan was arrested for allegedly killing a resident in his Nashua apartment building, Tappan has not yet been indicted on any murder charges.
Tappan’s case remains stalled at the 9th Circuit Court, Nashua District Division, as attorneys continue to address competency issues raised just weeks after his arrest in January 2017.
Tappan, 31, previously of 32 Kinsley St., Apt. 1, is accused of murdering Javier Rivera Afanador, 45, of 32 Kinsley St., Apt. 8., on Jan. 6, 2017.
Tappan was arrested shortly after the murder and has been held without bail at Hillsborough County Jail; no indictments have been handed up in the case, according to a court clerk.
He is currently charged with second-degree murder for Afanador’s death; the complaint alleges that Tappan repeatedly struck Afanador in the head with a hand-held weight.
A police affidavit detailing the murder has been sealed at the courthouse, and authorities have refused to comment on the relationship between the two men.
A review hearing was scheduled to take place last week in District Court, and a status hearing has been set for April 25 to discuss Tappan’s competency and potential restorability, according to court records.
“All of the parties agree it makes much more sense to litigate competency in Superior Court,” defense attorneys Paul Borchardt and Eleftheria Keans wrote in court documents, maintaining competency hearings should take place at Hillsborough County Superior Court after an indictment is handed up.
Tappan’s legal team was previously granted a competency evaluation and mental health evaluation to determine whether Tappan is competent to stand trial. His attorneys said earlier that Tappan seems to have trouble understanding what his legal counsel is saying, even when it is repeated and explained in different ways, say court records.
“It is also counsel’s understanding that Mr. Tappan has been found incompetent to stand trial in other matters unrelated to the current case, and that he (previously) ended a term of conditional discharge from the New Hampshire Hospital,” state court documents.
Less than two months before the murder, Tappan was arrested and charged with theft by unauthorized taking or transfer after allegedly stealing a touchscreen computer from Walmart in Hudson.
Tappan was out on bail for the theft charge at the time he was arrested for Afanador’s murder.
At the time of his arrest for alleged murder, Tappan allegedly had an outburst at the Nashua Police Department that led to several additional charges including resisting arrest, criminal threatening, criminal mischief, simple assault and breach of bail.
He is accused of urinating on the carpet and chairs at the police station, threatening to punch a police detective in the face, pulling away from authorities while they tried to place him in handcuffs and kicking an officer in the stomach.
“The parties anticipate keeping the misdemeanor charges alive, with continual status hearings as needed … ,” says court records.