KEENE — During an emotional hearing in Cheshire Superior Court on Friday, Joelle Guyette told Adam Anderson of Keene that she would never forgive him for fatally shooting her son, Holden Guyette.
“You destroyed me, you destroyed me bad,” Joelle Guyette said to Anderson during her tearful statement in court. “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.”
Anderson, who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for the shooting, expressed his own sorrow. The fatal shooting happened when Anderson tried to show Holden Guyette, a close friend who also lived in Keene, how to draw a pistol.
“If there is anything I could do, anything I could give to go back and fix my mistake, I would in an instant,” Anderson said. “I would like to ask their forgiveness, but I cannot; I cannot even forgive myself. ... I feel as though I robbed the world of a very special person and I feel ashamed and rightfully so.”
Anderson and Holden Guyette had bonded when Anderson began a relationship with Guyette’s sister, Tia. Anderson served as a mentor to Holden Guyette, and the two often fired guns together for recreation.
Anderson, Holden Guyette and Tia Guyette were planning to walk Anderson’s dog on Mother’s Day afternoon, May 13, 2018, when Holden Guyette expressed concern about his pistol, according to Assistant County Attorney John Webb.
Holden Guyette had recently purchased a Smith and Wesson 9 mm pistol and wanted to carry it concealed when the trio went for their walk, Webb said. Anderson offered to show Holden Guyette how to carry the pistol to make it easy to draw and demonstrated what he thought would be a quick draw and “dry fire,” or a fire without ammunition. Anderson said he did not know there was still a bullet in the chamber and his dry fire was a live shot that hit Holden Guyette, according to Webb.
Holden Guyette would have been 23 in January. Joelle Guyette said she’s still haunted by her son’s death.
“I wonder about Holden’s wounds all the time. They don’t make sense to me,” she said. “I still have visions of Holden in the hospital bed, me telling him to just wake up. And then in the casket. ... I just see that over and over again every day.”
Anderson expressed remorse for failing the first rule of firearm safety: to assume every firearm is loaded and to act accordingly.
“Holden entrusted me to be a teacher of firearms and I failed him,” Anderson said through tears.
Anderson pledged to never touch another gun for the rest of his life and said he wanted to speak at gun safety classes about what could happen when people are careless with guns.
Joelle Guyette said she has also lost her relationship with her daughter. Tia Guyette is estranged from her mother because of her relationship with Anderson, and Judge David Ruoff told the family they ought to find a way to reconcile.
Ruoff sentenced Anderson to 3½ to seven years in state prison and another six months for contempt of court. Anderson was arrested over the summer, accused of firing guns at his uncle’s property in Westmoreland in violation of his bail conditions.