2017 homicides include 4 involving policeBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
January 01. 2018 11:05PM
2017 NH homicides; accused perpetratorsJan. 6 in Nashua: Javier Rivera Afanador; Devin Tappan.
Jan. 29 in Farmington: Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini; Timothy Verrill.
Feb. 9 in Stoddard: Michael Carney; Nicole Carney (ruled justified).
March 11 in Durham: Michael Barrett; Bailey Manning.
March 15 in Farmington: James Laprade; juvenile charged.
March 28 in Manchester: Ryan Chafin; Jordan Gamache.
May 30 in Concord: Sabrina Galusha; Daswan Jette.
June 13 in Hampton: Barry Jones; Sgt. Keith Walker. Trooper Erik Willett (ruled justified).
June 15 in Newton: Michael Brown; Massachusetts Troopers Michael Caranfa, Robert Holland, George Katsarakes and Daniel Purtell (ruled justified).
Aug. 2 in Franklin: James Brock; Richard Tripaldi.
Aug. 15 in Haverhill: Crystal Lewis; Robert Taylor.
Sept. 12 in Lebanon: Pamela Ferriere; Travis Frink.
Sept. 30 in Belmont: Joseph Mazzitelli; Cpl. Evan Boulanger (ruled justified).
Nov. 19 in Goffstown: Ian Jewell; juvenile charged.
Dec. 11 in Manchester: Jacob Pelletier; Mark Heath.
Dec. 23 in Canaan: Jesse J. Champney; Trooper Christopher O'Toole (still under investigation).
Seventeen homicides were recorded in 2017 in New Hampshire.
Nine law enforcement personnel were involved in four fatal shooting incidents. Juveniles were charged in two of the homicides.
Investigators have solved all 17 of the killings. According to state records, the number of murders in New Hampshire has ranged from a low of four in 1961 to a high of 40 in 1991. There were 16 in 2016.
“I think it’s a testament to the work of emergency medical services personnel and health care professionals in our state,” said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin. “The number of homicides could be significantly higher if not for their efforts.”
While the average number of homicides is 15 to 20 a year, Strelzin said he receives calls about another 40 to 80 deaths each year. Those include suicides and accidents.
In the past decade, the fewest number of murders took place in 2009, when there were 11; the highest was 21 in 2013.
This year’s victims range in age from 2-year-old Jacob Pelletier, who died Dec. 11 in a Manchester apartment, to 70-year-old Pamela Ferriere. She was shot by her son, Travis Frink, on Sept. 12 in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, according to police.
The murder victims include 11 men, five women and one child. Six of the victims were in their 40s. Three were in their 20s.
This year, 11 people were shot to death; four were stabbed. Two died from blunt-force trauma.
Strelzin said the one thing that remains consistent from year to year is that a firearm is the number-one cause of homicides, followed by knives or sharp objects and then blunt-force trauma.
• The first homicide in 2017 took place Jan. 6 in Nashua, when Javier Rivera Afanador, 45, was bludgeoned to death inside 32 Kinsley St. Apt. 1. Police say Devin Tappan, 30, used a hand-held weight to repeatedly strike and kill Afanador, his neighbor, inside his apartment.
• Later that same month, two women were stabbed to death in Farmington. Timothy Verrill, 35, of Dover, is accused of stabbing 48-year-old Christine Sullivan and 32-year-old Jenna Pellegrini inside 979 Meaderboro Road, Farmington on Jan. 27.
Prosecutors say Sullivan and Pellegrini’s bodies were covered and left beneath a porch after the killings. They believe Verrill fractured Sullivan’s skull and stabbed her in the heart, neck and lungs. Pellegrini was stabbed in the neck, torso and back a total of 43 times, according to state police.
• In March, Ryan Chafin, 39, died from multiple gunshot wounds inside a residence at 534 Douglas St. in Manchester. His roommate, Jordan Gamache, 34, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
• In May, Sabrina Galusha, 23, was stabbed to death in Concord. Daswan Jette, 20, formerly of Boston, faces both first-degree murder and reckless second-degree murder in connection with the May 30 homicide.
Concord police found Galusha dead inside her car at Swenson Granite Works, about two miles from the Penacook Place Apartments where she lived. According to court documents, the murder occurred during a dispute over marijuana that had a street value of about $90.
• Two men died as a result of officer-involved shootings in June.
The Attorney General’s office has determined New Hampshire State Police Trooper Erik Willett and Sgt. Keith Walker were justified in using deadly force when they fired a total of five rounds at Barry Jones of Portsmouth outside the state liquor store in Hampton on June 13. Police said he pulled what appeared to be a firearm out of his waistband and ignored commands moments before the shooting.
• The Attorney General’s office also found four Massachusetts State Police troopers justified in using deadly force when they fired on Michael Brown of Presque Isle, Maine, after he shot at police several times and engaged in other threatening behavior during a police chase June 15 that began in Malden, Mass., and ended in Newton.
• On Aug. 15, the bodies of Crystal Lewis, 44, and Robert Taylor, 45, were discovered inside Lewis’ residence at 154 Pine Park Road in Haverhill. Autopsies showed Lewis died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head; her death was ruled a homicide. Taylor died as a result of a single gunshot wound to his head, a suicide.
• Pamela Ferriere, 70, was shot multiple times in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon on Sept. 12. Her son, Travis Frink, 49, of Warwick, R.I., is facing multiple indictments for first- and second-degree murder in her death.
Visiting the ICU at the Lebanon hospital, Frink allegedly asked for time alone with her. Robert Ferriere, Frink’s stepfather, agreed to step out. Ferriere would later tell the Union Leader it was just as he was leaving the fourth-floor room that he saw his stepson draw a semi-automatic handgun and an instant later fire multiple shots.
• On Nov. 19, police found Ian Jewell, an 18-year-old Manchester Memorial High School senior, shot once in the chest in the parking lot of the Goffstown Ace Hardware store on Depot Street. Jewell was rushed to a hospital, where he later died. An autopsy ruled Jewell’s death a homicide, and a juvenile has been arrested in connection with the shooting.
• On Dec. 11, Manchester police found Jacob Pelletier, 2, unconscious in his family’s apartment at 551 Howe St. His death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy determined the boy died of “blunt force trauma to the abdomen.”
Mark Heath, 32, also of 551 Howe St., faces second-degree murder charges in Pelletier’s death.