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Competency at issue for man who allegedly burned Lebanon church

Union Leader Correspondent

February 08. 2018 10:01PM
Anthony K. Boisvert 

NORTH HAVERHILL — The competency of Anthony K. Boisvert, the man charged with burning down the Lebanon First Baptist Church and stabbing two people, is in question as is the state’s view of it.

On Dec. 28, 2016, Boisvert, 29, formerly of 8 Tannery Lane in Lebanon, allegedly entered the church, lit a flag and then threw it against draperies, resulting in a fire that destroyed the more than century-old structure.

The state alleges that Boisvert on that date also set a couch on fire at a multi-unit apartment building on Mascoma Street, and that he stabbed Wade Bennett and Diane Faughnan, his live-in companion, in retaliation for Bennett allegedly telling authorities about Boisvert’s plans.

Before the fires, Boisvert, according to court documents, visited Bennett and Faughnan, reportedly telling Bennett that he intended to start a fire; making suicidal statements; and urging Bennett, Faughnan as well as a third person in the apartment to “watch the news.”

In what John Bell, an assistant Grafton County attorney, described as “spontaneous remarks” he made to Lebanon police after his arrest, Boisvert claimed he killed Bennett and said he started the church fire as well.

In a Jan. 1, 2017, statement to police, Boisvert said, “Everything was going to be fine and then he (Bennett) admitted to me that he told the cops I was gonna go out with a bang.”

Boisvert allegedly stabbed Bennett in the head and/or face and/or arms and stabbed Faughnan in the neck, shoulder and chest, resulting in serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

Boisvert cited several reasons for his actions, Bell wrote in a motion to join indictments, including “DCYF involvement with his family, discord with his wife, depression that he ascribed to ‘God making me a pedophile,’ said he was ‘sick of my life ... I was so mad, I was just ready to make the news.’”

The state conducted a forensic examination of Boisvert on Sept. 15, 2017, but the nine-page report prepared by Dr. James Bomersbach, is sealed, as are several other documents in the Boisvert case.

A competency hearing that had been scheduled for Dec. 11 was canceled and subsequently, Constantine Hutchins, the public defender who represents Boisvert, filed a motion seeking to depose Bomersbach.

In his objection to that motion, which also included a request for a second forensic examination, Bell alluded to the defense’s possible goal, which appears to be to discredit Bomersbach and his report in which, Bell said, Bomersbach “allegedly changed his mind three times with respect to his conclusion.”

Without saying what Bomersbach’s conclusion was, Bell said it was based on the doctor’s interaction with and testing of Boisvert that led him to initially believe that Boisvert “suffered from severe cognitive impairment as well as memory, reasoning and problem solving impairment.”

But Bell immediately added that “The examiner realized his mistake when he listened to recorded telephone conversations that the defendant exhibited unimpaired recall, no cognitive deficits and demonstrated reasoning and problem solving more than sufficient to assist his attorney” and to understand the proceedings.

A competency hearing for Boisvert was scheduled for Feb. 5, but it was changed on the court docket to a “status conference.” MacLeod conducted the conference behind closed doors and afterwards, both Bell and Hutchins said they could not discuss what transpired during it.

Crime North Haverhill

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