Attorney General Gordon MacDonald | New Hampshire Public Radio

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 5, 2021

Mar 4, 2021

  It’s been a busy week in New Hampshire news, as the state crosses into its second year of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll talk about the latest vaccine news, about controversy at the Statehouse over bigoted remarks from lawmakers during virtual sessions, and much more.

This show is hosted by NHPR's Annie Ropeik, who covers climate, energy, the environment, and the Seacoast.

Air date: Friday, March 5, 2021.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gordon MacDonald will be sworn in Thursday as the new chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. For MacDonald, who until recently was New Hampshire's attorney general, this day was a long time coming.

Rebecca Lavoie / NHPR

A continuación, encuentra las noticias del lunes 25 de enero.

Escucha haciendo click en el audio o léelas en esta publicación. 

Una nota: Lo escrito es nuestro guión para nuestras grabaciones. Tenlo en cuenta si ven algunas anotaciones diferentes.

Fase 1b de vacunación contra el COVID-19 empieza mañana en New Hampshire

A partir de la mañana del martes, el estado empezará a vacunar a los miembros elegibles para lo que se conoce como la fase 1b [uno be]. 

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald has been confirmed as chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, ending a protracted political dispute over who should lead the state’s high court.

The exterior of the New Hampshire Department of Justice in Concord.
NHPR File Photo

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office says the use of non-deadly force in a highly publicized arrest of a Black man in the town of Albany earlier this year was justified.

Manchester InkLink

The brewing political fight over President Trump’s intention to quickly fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be centered in Washington and the U.S. Senate. But the political implications are far broader -- including here in New Hampshire.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR


Lawmakers will consider a bill this session that would change the way the state oversees county attorney offices.

The proposed bill would require the Attorney General's office to get approval from the Executive Council before taking over control of criminal cases from a county attorney.

Hillsborough County Attorney's office

Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Conlon is still on the job, despite an announcement last Friday that the Attorney General was taking over Conlon's office.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald sent a letter on Friday explaining that he was sending attorneys on Monday to oversee the Hillsborough County Attorney's office after "repeated failures" by Conlon to improve oversight of his staff and communication with local police departments.

Ali Oshinskie / NHPR

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced Friday he is taking over the Hillsborough County Attorney's office, citing what he calls "systemic failures in the leadership of the prosecutorial function" of County Attorney Michael Conlon's office.

Britta Greene / NHPR


The New Hampshire Supreme Court has denied a request by the New Hampshire Attorney General's office to release records about its investigation into a high-profile alleged racially-motivated attack in Claremont two years ago.

New Hampshire authorities are investigating an "untimely death" of a man in Greenland.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said there is no evidence to suggest there is a threat to the public at this point.

No additional details were released Monday morning.

The AG's office is investigating along with the New Hampshire State Police and Greenland Police Department.

New Hampshire authorities have arrested a man for the alleged murder of a Concord man who died in a fire at his home in 2005.

Richard Ellison, 45, was charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Robert McMillan, 84.

McMillian died in the fire at his house on North State Street on Dec. 9, 2005.

Ellison is accused of starting the fire that led to his death, according to an announcement from Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Concord Police Chief Bradley Osgood.

Ellison is scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon in Concord.

NHPR Photo

Investigators have identified a man found dead off the side of a road in Rindge.

They say the death of 20-year-old Brandon Chicklis, of Westminster, Massachusetts, is a homicide. The cause of death is being withheld pending further investigation.

The body was found off of Route 119 on Tuesday afternoon by a jogger. Chicklis was 20 to 40 feet from the roadside.

The exterior of the New Hampshire Department of Justice in Concord.
NHPR File Photo


The New Hampshire Attorney General's office says the Berlin man suspected of killing his wife has been found dead in Maine.

Police say 52-year-old Denis Bisson was found dead Friday night in Rumford, Maine. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The AG says the body of Bisson's wife was found Friday at home. An autopsy determined that 43-year-old Angie Bisson died of a single gunshot wound to the head. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

An arrest warrant for second-degree murder had been issued for Denis Bisson.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A woman died from a gunshot wound Tuesday night in Rochester, after an incident involving two groups of people in the area of South Main Street.

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald and Rochester Police Chief Paul Toussaint announced the investigation into the homicide case. On Thursday, police identified the shooting victim as Billy Jo Ahearn, 24, of Rochester.

Chief Medical Examiner Jennie V. Duval determined the yhomicide death was caused by a single gunshot. 

NHPR File Photo

New Hampshire's Attorney General's office says it has few details on a deal that could transfer ownership of Mount Sunapee Resort to Colorado-based Vail resorts.

When Vail resorts announced an agreement to buy Triple Peaks LLC, the company that owns the Sunapee Resort, Okemo Mountain in Vermont, and Crested Butte in Colorado, Vail said the land lease transfers for the properties in New Hampshire and Vermont will require permission from state regulators.

Google maps

State investigators are pursuing multiple leads in the shooting death of 36-year-old Jesse Jarvis outside a bar early Sunday morning in Claremont. No arrests have been made. 

Police were called at about 12:14 a.m. to the Imperial Buffet restaurant, which has an adjoining bar popular on weekend nights. 

According to the bar manager, Tony Zhang, Jarvis was just arriving on the property when he was shot in the parking lot. 

The state's chief medical examiner ruled Jarvis' death a homicide after performing an autopsy Monday afternoon. 

NHPR File Photo


New Hampshire's attorney general says the names of police officers investigated on suspicion of misconduct won't be added to a confidential state list if the allegations aren't supported.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said Monday two recent state supreme court decisions made clear that officers are entitled to due process regarding their placement on and removal from what was formerly known as the "Laurie List."

Britta Greene / NHPR

There will be no charges against a New Hampshire state trooper who shot and killed a 26-year-old man in Canaan in December.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced Wednesday that Trooper Christopher O’Toole’s use of deadly force was legally justified. (The AG's full report is embedded at the end of this story.)

That’s because, according to O’Toole, Jesse J. Champney repeatedly said he had a gun and threatened to shoot. O’Toole was pursuing Champney on foot across a dark, snowy field after a car chase on Dec. 23.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Gov. Chris Sununu just made two announcements on equity issues at the state level. The state Department of Justice is launching a new civil rights unit. And the governor is forming a new advisory council on diversity and inclusion.


Peter Biello, host of All Things Considered, speaks with Andrew Smith, who will be involved in the new state efforts. Smith works in the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. He works with groups in New Hampshire after racial incidents occur.


  New Hampshire authorities announced an arrest Wednesday night in the homicide death of a 2-year-old Manchester boy.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard said that Mark Heath of Manchester was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the death of Jacob Pelletier.

Heath, 32, with a given address of 51 Howe St., second floor, allegedly caused the boy's death "by inflicting blunt force trauma to his abdomen," according to the charges cited by the AG.