Parker Hogan with attorney Charlotte Robinson

Parker Hogan and one of his attorneys, Charlotte Robinson, listen on Monday in Grafton County Superior Court where Hogan's trial for assisted suicide began. 

NORTH HAVERHILL — The trial of the Plymouth man accused of assisting in his roommate’s suicide began Monday with prosecutors portraying Parker Hogan as a criminal who took advantage of a “fragile” and “vulnerable” Michael Buskey.

The defense, meanwhile, countered that Hogan was a true friend of Buskey, 19, who reluctantly carried out Buskey’s last-minute wishes only after trying repeatedly to talk him out of taking his life with a shotgun, sometime late on the night of May 7, 2018, or in the early morning of May 8, 2018.

The suicide occurred in a wooded area, across the street from the Texas Hill Road apartment complex where the men lived with a third person, from whom Hogan took the Springfield pump-action 20 gauge shotgun and shells that Buskey used to kill himself.

The state, in the person of Paul Fitzgerald, the Deputy Grafton County Attorney, alleges that as part of a plan between Hogan, 20, and Buskey, Hogan, who had brought a notepad and pen to the scene, would “find” Buskey’s body and report the apparent suicide to both Plymouth police and Buskey’s father.

The defense team, made up of attorneys Renee Sargent and Charlotte Robinson, told Judge Lawrence MacLeod in Grafton County Superior Court that Buskey — in an effort to prevent anyone from being charged in connection with his death — directed Hogan to do some of the things that the state has since charged him with, including wiping his prints off the shotgun and removing nip-sized bottles of alcohol from near Buskey’s body.

Hogan’s trial, which started about 1:30 p.m. Monday and was recessed by MacLeod less than two hours later, included testimony by six state witnesses.

Fitzgerald told the jury that on the day of his death, Buskey was “fragile” because he was struggling with suicidal thoughts and had previously failed to kill himself by hanging. Buskey was “vulnerable,” said Fitzgerald, because “he had mounted up some criminal offenses.”

Hogan is accused of giving Buskey a stick with which to pull the trigger and telling Buskey where to aim the firearm. According to Fitzgerald, Hogan told Plymouth police during an interview that he had even offered to “help pull the trigger” himself.

In a subsequent interview, Fitzgerald said, Hogan told a detective that he had watched as Buskey practiced getting into “different positions” with the shotgun and that Hogan saw his role as helping ensure that “Mikey went ahead with it.”

Robinson painted her client as a loyal friend who knew that “the decision was not up to him, it was up to Mikey” and as someone who pleaded with Buskey and reminded him of the many people and things he had to live for, his sister Felicity among them.

Buskey’s decision, Robinson said earlier, was “not a sudden decision” but was something that “he’d talked about for months, for years.”

She stressed that there was a difference between aiding a person and purposefully assisting them in committing a crime.

Buskey’s death “is a tragedy” said Robinson, “but it’s not criminal.”

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