Berlin man not guilty of 2016 death of woman who fell from his truckBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
September 23. 2017 2:00PM
LANCASTER – A jury took two hours on Friday to find a Berlin man not guilty of negligent homicide and of two other charges in connection with the Aug. 10, 2016 death of a woman who fell from his truck while it was moving.
Authorities had alleged that Randy Baillargeon of 97 Elm St. had driven his pickup truck “... at speed and erratically” while the victim, Kristin Black, 34, of 811 Sixth Ave., in Berlin “was clinging to its exterior, causing her to fall or jump off the vehicle.”
A mother of three, Black died in the road near her home and Baillargeon was subsequently arrested by Berlin police who charged him with negligent homicide, reckless conduct and conduct after an accident.
Baillargeon was first held on $125,000 cash bail, but the amount was reduced to $5,000 because he did not have a criminal record and because he waived a probable-cause hearing. A welder, Baillargeon agreed to waive extradition, which permitted him to travel to work sites in New England while his case was pending.
At Baillargeon’s trial, which started Sept. 19 and ended Friday, with the jury beginning deliberations around 1:45 p.m., defense attorney Len Harden argued that Black, whom Baillargeon had met only the night before her death, had developed a sudden, intense and disturbing infatuation for him.
Baillargeon and a male friend of his had spent the night of Aug. 9 with Black and her female friend, said Harden, and the following morning, when Baillargeon and his friend were leaving, Black jumped into the bed of Baillargeon’s truck.
She later made her way down onto the driver’s side running board and while holding onto the truck’s mirror with one hand, pounded upon Baillargeon’s window with the other.
At some point, “she separated from the vehicle,” Harden said Friday while he and Baillargeon awaited the jury verdict, adding that “nobody knows” whether Black fell or jumped.
“She did not want my client to leave,” Harden said, adding that Baillargeon was unaware that Black had been injured and that he did not attempt to flee but was apprehended in Berlin while having lunch with a family member.
“This is a very difficult case. Nobody’s ever going to be a winner,” said Harden, a short time before he, Baillargeon and Coos County Attorney John McCormack were called back into Judge Peter Bornstein’s courtroom to hear the verdict.
Delivered right around 4 p.m., when the court closes for the day, the verdict was announced by the foreperson, a woman in her late 20s or early 30s, and to each of the three counts, it was “not guilty” – and by a unanimous vote of the 12-person jury.
McCormack, who left the courtroom as Baillargeon’s supporters embraced each other, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.