Chief found not guilty

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Chief found not guilty

Postby safety frog » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:15 am

Eagle Tribune reports
Posted: Thursday, September 4, 2014 1:20 am

By Doug Ireland direland@eagletribune.com




SALEM — Danville police Chief Wade Parsons has been cleared of negligence in the shooting death of his girlfriend's teenage son.

Judge Edwin Kelly found Parsons not guilty Wednesday on a charge that he failed to properly secure his service revolver in a bedroom closet of his Danville home.


Jacob Carver, a 15-year-old Timberlane Regional High School student and son of girlfriend Debbie Carver, used the Glock handgun to commit suicide on March 11, 2013.

The 20-year chief left the service revolver beneath clothing on top of a gun safe before running errands. The teen's body was found near the closet at about 7 p.m. that day. Parsons pleaded not guilty to a charge of negligent storage of a firearm.

Kelly, administrative judge of the state's circuit court system, said in his ruling that the defense failed to prove that Parsons could have known Jacob would use the gun to commit suicide.

Parsons' attorney, Alan Cronheim, and Assistant County Terri Harrington presented their arguments for nearly an hour Tuesday afternoon.

The focus of their arguments was whether Parsons could be found guilty under a state firearms law, RSA 650-C:1.

The law states “any person who stores or leaves on premises under that person’s control a loaded firearm, and who knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child’s parent or guardian, is guilty of a violation if a child gains access to a firearm ... .”

Kelly stated in his ruling there was no evidence to prove Parsons could have "likely" known the boy would shoot himself with the gun, especially after Cronheim said the teen was told not to go into the bedroom.

"These facts do not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew or should have known that the child was likely to gain access to the firearm," Kelly said. "A finding of not guilty must result."

If found guilty of the violation, Parsons faced a fine of up to $1,000, but no jail time. Danville selectmen have backed Parsons throughout the court case, according to Chairman Shawn O'Neil.

Parsons has said he could not comment on the matter and would not speak Tuesday while leaving the court with Cronheim and Debbie Carver.

The mother, who wiped tears from her eyes throughout the trial, has said Parsons could not have prevented her son's death and should not be held responsible.

Although Parsons could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, Cronheim said they were pleased with the decision.

But, he said, a family and community have lost a valued member who cannot be replaced.

"The case has never been as important than the loss," Cronheim said.

Geoffrey Carver, the boy's father, has called Parsons irresponsible and said he should be held accountable.

He sat across from Debbie Carver in the courtroom and would not speak after the proceedings ended. He could not be reached Wednesday.

When Parsons ran for re-election in March, Debbie Carver supported the chief at the polls. Geoffrey Carver backed the chief's opponent and longtime colleague, Sgt. Ryan Furman.
Dennis F
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