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Mother mourning, seeking answers in death of son whose friend allegedly helped him commit suicide

Union Leader Correspondent

June 03. 2018 9:38PM
Jennifer Phelps holds a cell phone image of her 19-year-old son, Michael Buskey, who police say committed suicide last month in Plymouth with the assistance of his roommate, Parker J. Hogan, 19. Hogan is facing four felony charges. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

Determined to get justice for her son Michael Buskey, who police say committed suicide last month in Plymouth with the help of a friend, Jennifer Phelps is also on a mission to improve the safety net she believes failed both 19-year-olds.

Phelps “absolutely” wants Parker J. Hogan to go to jail and plans to be at every one of his court appearances.

“I want him to get the maximum,” said Phelps, adding that “Michael needed help but he (Hogan) needs his own.”

“When a friend comes to you” to talk about possibly taking his or her life, she said, “you’re supposed to help them, not help them do it.”

According to court documents, on or about the night of May 7 and the morning of May 8, Parker J. Hogan, 19, took a shotgun and shells from a roommate at a Texas Hill Road apartment complex in which they lived in Plymouth with Michael Buskey, and gave them to Buskey, 19.

Hogan then accompanied Buskey into a wooded area across from their apartment complex, bringing with him a notebook and pen with which Buskey was to write suicide notes, police say. Hogan allegedly instructed Buskey in angling the shotgun for immediate, lethal effect; and, when it seemed that Buskey might have difficulty reaching the trigger, gave him a stick to use.

Hogan was arrested by Plymouth police for causing or assisting suicide and three counts of falsifying physical evidence for allegedly removing the suicide notes and five alcohol “nip” bottles from the scene as well as wiping his fingerprints off the shotgun.

All of the charges are Class B felonies that carry a term of between 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.

Arraigned last week in Grafton County Superior Court, Hogan pleaded not guilty and is free on a $5,000 cash bond. He is scheduled to appear in court for a dispositional conference on July 23.

Phelps, during an interview last Thursday, said she was flabbergasted that Hogan would help her son to commit suicide, rather than encouraging him to get help or calling a family member.

“It was a shock,” said Phelps, especially since she and her sister had just found housing for Buskey in North Woodstock as well as a job for him at the Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery, where Phelps works.

The middle of three sons with her former husband Chris Buskey, Michael Buskey was a graduate of Plymouth Regional High School, who lived alternately with his mom and dad, Phelps said.

Her son was contemplating a future either as an automotive mechanic, she said, or a chef, but he truly wanted to be a freestyle rapper; Phelps said proudly that he was quite good at it.

While conceding that Buskey was “no angel” and that he had “very high anxiety” about pending legal charges including witness-tampering and burglary, Phelps said he was not depressed.

Buskey was working toward an agreement on the charges, she said, but in other areas of his life he was struggling in part because he was too old for some forms of assistance.

“He reached out so many times to get help,” be it for rides to court, health insurance or financial aid, said Phelps, “but there’s nothing out there for them.”

Phelps, who last spoke to Buskey a week before his death, said she believed that “there’s a lot more to it than he (Hogan) said” and that more people may be involved in her son’s death.

She thanked Plymouth police “for not just dismissing this as a suicide” and her former husband for working closely with the agency.

Both Hogan and Buskey, according to Hogan’s statement to Plymouth police, had each unsuccessfully attempted suicide before, Buskey by hanging, Hogan by pistol.

Buskey allegedly told Hogan that he could not hang himself again and supposedly remembered that a roommate of theirs had a shotgun. Hogan told police on May 8 that he and Buskey had spoken of suicide previously.

After learning from other sources that Hogan allegedly removed evidence from the scene, Plymouth police arrested Hogan on May 25 during the course of a second interview with him.

According to court documents, in that interview Hogan said he rejected the idea of stealing a gun from one of Buskey’s relatives and suggested that instead they consider buying one. The pair allegedly gave up on the idea after deciding that Hogan’s van was mechanically unable to make the trip to a local firearms store.

Crime North Woodstock

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