Son of murdered Derry handyman faces his own attacker after home invasion
BRENTWOOD -- Twelve years after his father was brutally murdered, Jack Reid Jr. stood in a courtroom Wednesday as the victim of another crime — a violent home invasion last year in which a man barged into his Raymond home with a mask and a baseball bat to rob him.
Reid, 28, confronted his attacker, Michael Whalen, who will spend the next five years in prison as part of a plea deal for his role in the robbery on Jan. 19, 2016.
“I could have died that night,” Reid told the court as Whalen, 27, of Londonderry, was sentenced in Rockingham County Superior Court. He pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery, second-degree assault, burglary, accomplice to theft and accomplice to kidnapping.
Reid is the son of Derry handyman Jack Reid, who was murdered in 2005 at the behest of multimillionaire businessman John Brooks, who hired a group of men to carry out his killing.
“I already had enough going on. It’s such a long road for people who deal with PTSD,” Reid said.
He argued that the sentence for Whalen, whom he knew from high school, was too light given the seriousness of the crime. He said he felt a 15- to 20-year prison term would have been more appropriate.
“I think it’s an absolute embarrassment that they made a deal like this ... When you make a deal with somebody like this who does such a heinous crime, you’re setting up the standard for young kids that you can get away with whatever you want,” he said.
At the time of the attack, Reid was home alone playing an Xbox video game over the Internet with a friend, John Vincent, who was at his home in Salisbury, Mass.
Reid’s door was unlocked when Whalen and another man entered with ski masks, tried to restrain him with duct tape, pepper-sprayed him, and choked him.
They stole several items, including his wallet and wrestling memorabilia, before eventually fleeing with his Dodge Charger after Reid fought them off with help from his two pit bulls.
The second man has not yet been arrested.
During the sentencing, Reid recalled how his father was murdered and the pain he has endured. “You can imagine what I was going through in pain that night when I’ve got two masked men trying to tie me up in my own house. That’s some serious crime,” he told the judge.
Vincent also spoke in court about the night of the attack and how, through the audio of the Xbox video game, he could hear Reid struggling with his attackers and yelling for him to call police.
“That night, I could hear it in his voice there was a struggle. I did everything I could to help, but I always knew in the back of my mind that he was going to fight because that’s who he is. Everything he’s been through from Day One, I knew that he would fight, and luckily he was able to do it,” Vincent said.
Reid said he took over his father’s business after his death and called it Jack Reid Jr. Man With Dump Truck. He said he placed a business sign outside his Raymond home, which he believes is what attracted Whalen to the house for the robbery.
Assistant County Attorney Annaliese Wolf said the home invasion affected Reid “very deeply.”
Whalen made no statement in court, but defense lawyer Lauren Prusiner said he has expressed remorse for the attack and acknowledged his responsibility. She said Whalen became addicted to drugs, which led him to make some bad decisions.
Judge Andrew Schulman agreed that the sentence was lenient, but he accepted it and said he felt it had “deterrent value.”
In addition to the five years in prison, Whalen was also given a 7 1/2- to 15-year suspended sentence and must pay $5,000 in restitution and complete counseling and education programs.
“It’s my hope for Mr. Whalen that he understands the enormity of what happened and the consequences for Mr. Reid,” Schulman said.