MANCHESTER — A clearer picture is emerging of Damien Seace, 35, the self-described Nazi accused of beating his girlfriend to death in her West Side apartment Tuesday night.
Despite his claims that he is a Marine, the Marine Corps on Thursday said they have no record of a Damien Seace.
He is prone to violence. He’s been found guilty of spitting on, hitting and punching people in authority, such as police and corrections officers.
On Thursday, police say, he got into the secure Pariseau Apartments, an 11-story public-housing building, entered the apartment of his girlfriend — Jennifer Burpee, 45 — and beat her to death with a piece of furniture. An autopsy performed Thursday determined Burpee died of blunt head trauma and her death was ruled a homicide.
Despite repeated violent behavior, Seace seemed to avoid stiff penalties. In 2011, a judge knocked a year and a half off a three-year minimum sentence after he wrote a letter lamenting his childhood abuse. And earlier this year, prosecutors dropped domestic assault charges against him after Burpee recanted her story of a October 2018 beating and choking. She was killed nine months later.
“Batterers who are capable of committing the ultimate act of domestic violence often demonstrate a documented pattern of abuse and early intervention in these cases is critical,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
She called for the state to believe survivors, prioritize services and hold offenders accountable.
“As prosecutors, we are put in the unfortunate position sometimes of dropping charges,” said Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Conlon. He said victims are sometimes unwilling or unable to take the steps that would help bring about the safety and security they deserve. He urged victims in such cases to reach out to their local crisis support centers.
Seace has described himself as a Nazi on a Facebook page and made mention to obscure numbers favored by white supremacists.
But some of his claims appear to be false. His Facebook page said he is married, but there was no indication of that. A page created by Burpee said Seace is a Marine, and Seace has told police he is a Marine, according to police reports contained in court files. And he has lived at Liberty House, a shelter for homeless veterans. But the Marine Corps said it has no Marine of that name in its records.
Seace has a criminal record that stretches back to 2008. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to backhanding a state prison lieutenant as he was being asked about the assault of another prisoner.
A judge took 1½ years off his minimum sentence after Burpee wrote a three-page letter claiming he had been the victim of sexual, psychological and physical assaults by a stepfather.
He wrote that his stepfather raped him, beat his mother and killed his dog after he failed a math class. He said he spent many nights in domestic violence shelters, but his mother always went back to the man.
“I do believe many horrid things from the wonder years contributed to my rage issues I am now suffering from,” he wrote.
Despite the 1 1/2- to 7-year sentence, Seace would be released from prison, violate his parole, apparently return to prison, win parole, and then violate it again. State corrections officials said they cannot release details of the consequences of any parole violations. But court records show numerous crimes he committed while on parole.
In July 2017 he punched Burpee in the head and dragged her around.
In October 2017 he burglarized a Mill West apartment and poured beer over furniture and other belongings.
In September 2018 he was caught trying to shoplift a $10.99 bottle from a liquor store.
A month later, he spit at and kicked a Manchester police officer who confronted Seace after he was frightening people at the Doubletree Hotel, Farnum Center and 7-Eleven by wearing a mask from the horror movie “Halloween.”
“Come on man, I was only listening to some Slipknot,” he told police, referring to the heavy metal band.
Seace ended up with both a parole violation and criminal charges.
But he avoided significant penalties for the criminal charges. He got off with the 116 days he waited in jail on the burglary charge. He had to pay restitution for the liquor store theft. He agreed to drug treatment at Phoenix House for the police assaults.
In October 2018 — the same month he frightened people with the mask — Seace was charged with choking, punching and threatening to kill Burpee, as well as taking away her phone when she tried to call for help.
“During the argument, around 1850 hours, Damien told her, ‘I will murder you. I will bury you and no one will ever find out.’ He then grabbed around her neck with his left hand and began strangling her for approximately 3 to 5 seconds,” police reported, noting red marks on her neck.
But she recanted her statement, and prosecutors dropped those charges in February.