NORTH HAVERHILL — Saying the request came “very late,” a judge on Thursday rejected the state’s request to let a last-minute witness testify against Parker Hogan, the Plymouth man who allegedly helped his roommate Michael Buskey commit suicide.
“We’ve got a jury selected, we can’t postpone this,” Judge Lawrence MacLeod told the respective attorneys during an emergency hearing in Grafton County Superior Court.
Earlier the attorneys had agreed that the only way Jesse Shaw was going to testify at all is if Hogan’s trial was continued so that both the state and defense could thoroughly vet him.
Paul Fitzgerald, the deputy Grafton County attorney, told MacLeod that Shaw, who lives in Vermont, called the Plymouth Police Department on Wednesday and gave consent to having his conversation with a detective recorded.
In that conversation, Fitzgerald said Shaw corroborated the state’s belief that Hogan and Buskey had acted together under a plan that would leave the latter man dead from a self-inflicted shotgun wound on or about the night of May 7 and the morning of May 8, 2018.
In court documents, the state alleges that Hogan took a shotgun and shells from a third roommate at a Texas Hill Road apartment complex in which they lived; that he and Buskey, 19, then walked into a wooded area across from their residence, with Hogan bringing a notebook and pen with which Buskey was to write suicide notes.
Hogan, who said he was familiar with another suicide attempt in which the victim failed to kill himself with a firearm, instructed Buskey in how to position the gun for immediate lethality and also gave Buskey a stick to use to reach the trigger.
With multiple criminal charges pending against him in Grafton County Superior Court, Buskey, according to court documents, was distraught about the possibility of having to serve a significant prison sentence if he was convicted. In a summary of his conversation with Plymouth police, Shaw said Buskey worried that he would be unable to serve 20 years, “going in at 18 and coming out at 40.”
Shaw added that Buskey told him that he had “a perfect plan” with Parker, so that he could escape his reality so no one else would get “dragged on into a situation with it.”
MacLeod observed that much of what Shaw would present at trial was hearsay, but noted that some hearsay is admissible.
But ultimately, because he said the defense had no way to prepare for Shaw being a state witness at Hogan’s trial, which starts Aug. 19, MacLeod denied the state’s motion to let Shaw testify.
The state did win a partial motion Thursday, however, when MacLeod agreed to let it present evidence that Buskey had written a suicide note that now no one seems to be able to find, although Hogan reportedly told Plymouth police of its existence during a May 25, 2018 interview.
The existence of the note is in, MacLeod said, but any allegation Hogan did something criminal with it, is not.
Earlier this week, MacLeod granted a motion by the defense to bar the wearing of apparel with Buskey’s image on it in the courtroom because it could be prejudicial and influence the jury.