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Mystery continues to surround November killing in Goffstown

New Hampshire Sunday News

December 17. 2017 8:36PM
Police on the scene of a shooting in November in Goffstown. (JEFFREY HASTINGS)

GOFFSTOWN — The public may never find out exactly what happened in the parking lot of the Goffstown Ace Hardware store on Depot Street the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

When police responded to a report of a shooting that afternoon, they found Ian Jewell, an 18-year-old Manchester Memorial High School senior, had been shot once in the chest. Jewell was rushed to a hospital, where he later died.

An autopsy ruled his death a homicide.

Three days later, authorities announced in a news release that a juvenile had been arrested in connection with Jewell’s death. The state charged the boy under two alternative statutes: first-degree murder for “knowingly causing Mr. Jewell’s death with a deadly weapon in the commission of a robbery,” and, alternatively, second-degree murder for “recklessly” causing his death “under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life, by shooting him.”

At a candlelight vigil held at his high school, Jewell’s middle-school track coach remembered him as “a great spirit” and “phenomenal kid.” Friends and teachers said he was fond of tie-dyed shirts, made the honor roll and loved talking about space and the universe. A GoFundMe site to date has raised more than $13,000 for a scholarship in his name.

But even as his family and friends grieved for Jewell, comments swirled on social media: it was a drug deal gone wrong; it was self-defense; there were other teens in the car that day who saw what happened.

A young man who works at the hardware store, asked by a reporter to talk about what happened, would say only, “The cops got it wrong.”

Nearly a month after the fatal shooting, the facts in the news release are all that Jeffery Strelzin, senior assistant attorney general and head of the homicide unit at the Attorney General’s Office, will confirm about the case. Professional conduct rules and state law keep all matters relating to juvenile cases confidential, he told the New Hampshire Sunday News on Friday.

“That’s done because the Legislature has balanced the rights of juveniles and determined that those rights need to be afforded significant protections ... in homicide cases in the early stages,” he said, noting those protections also apply in other crimes.

Speaking in general terms, Strelzin said a criminal case involving a juvenile can proceed in one of two ways. “It can remain in the juvenile system, or the state in certain cases and instances can seek to have a juvenile certified as an adult and seek to have that juvenile move into the adult criminal justice system.”

Won’t the facts of what happened in Goffstown last month come out at trial?

“If there is a trial,” he replied.

However, Strelzin said, if the case remains within the juvenile justice system, “there will be very few details that will ever be released.”

Crime Goffstown

Market Fair and Militia Muster
Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.

Harvest Music Festival
Saturday, 4-9 p.m.

The Enchanted Forest
Friday-Saturday, 5 - 9 p.m.

Livingston Taylor
Saturday, 8 p.m.