NORTH HAVERHILL — A jury took less than three hours Wednesday to find a Plymouth man guilty of helping his roommate commit suicide with a shotgun in a wooded area near their apartment.
The jury in Grafton County Superior Court found Parker Hogan, 20, guilty of causing or assisting suicide and one of two counts of falsifying physical evidence in connection with the suicide of Michael Buskey, 19, which is believed to have occurred overnight between May 7 and May 8, 2018.
Hogan remains free on bail pending a yet-to-be scheduled sentencing hearing.
Both charges on which Hogan was convicted are Class B felonies, which carry a term of 3 1/2 to 7 years in state prison.
Despite the verdict, Buskey’s mother, Jennifer Phelps, said the loss of her son will “never be over.”
The middle of three sons Phelps had with former husband Chris Buskey, Michael Buskey was a graduate of Plymouth Regional High School. At his core, Phelps said, Buskey was a “great guy” despite running into some trouble with the law, and she asked that people remember that.
Phelps also pleaded with the public to do something if they know a person is hurting emotionally and is thinking of taking their life, a plea she first made in an interview with the Union Leader shortly after her son’s death.
Hogan tried to talk Buskey out of committing suicide, according to court documents and testimony at his trial, which began Monday afternoon and ended late Wednesday morning. But he never told anyone who could have effectively intervened, according to Phelps.
Instead, the state argued at trial, Hogan took a shotgun and shells from a third roommate, along with a notepad and pen, and took them to the place where Buskey would later commit suicide. The state said Hogan counseled Buskey on where to place the shotgun and gave him a stick to reach the trigger to fire the fatal shot.
As part of what the state said was Hogan and Buskey’s plan, Hogan pretended he had “discovered” Buskey’s body on May 8 and notified Plymouth police.
In opening arguments Monday, defense attorney Charlotte Robinson described Hogan as a good friend of Buskey’s who, after failing to dissuade him, reluctantly helped him carry out the suicide.
Out of concern that no one be charged in his suicide, Robinson said Buskey directed Hogan to wipe his prints off the shotgun, which the jury ultimately deemed to be the falsification of evidence.
The jury did not feel the same about Hogan taking nip bottles of alcohol from the scene of Buskey’s suicide. It acquitted him of the charge of falsifying evidence for that.
Phelps said Hogan’s conviction has offered her and Buskey’s family a measure of relief, but “nothing’s ever going to bring him back.”
“This has been a very long road,” she said.