"David's words and actions the night of the fire were reprehensible," Lugo said of McLeod's glee and cheering on of the fire. She said those were the actions of a "drunken fool."
apartment on his belly to avoid the dense smoke, after people on the sidewalk said residents were trapped inside. He heard nothing and didn't see the broken window those outside had pointed to, then smoke drove him out. Unbeknownst to Collins, the Hina's apartment was an odd shape with a back room.
Keene patrolman Joseph Collins choked back tears as he described crawling into the Hina's Puma Basket Classic White
McLeod has been in custody since his arrest July 2010 a year after the cold case unit was formed.
"It wasn't the flames of the fire that killed the murder victims here," prosecutor Peter Hinckley told jurors. "They couldn't escape the fire's smoke and deadly gases. Their deaths were not quick. They were not painless."
"To accept the state's theory, you have to find that David leaves the gathering at Ed's, sneaks away from Wanda and everyone else who's there, walked around the building, climbs up a fire escape. It's a cold January night and David McLeod is very drunk," Lugo said. "He sets a fire in Sandy Walker's apartment, and then goes back and joins the people who wronged him. That didn't happen."
Prosecutors told jurors that the 57 year old McLeod threatened to burn down the two story apartment house before the fire, bragged and laughed about it as the fire raged and admitted setting it afterward.
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McLeod arrested in 2010 and charged with four counts of second degree murder is the most prominent of the state's cold case defendants to go on trial, and his case could prove to be the most challenging. Witness accounts then and now conflict sharply, McLeod's lawyers told jurors during opening arguments Tuesday.
Lori Hina's mother and other family members were in the courtroom, but did not want to comment. McLeod's mother also was present and declined to comment.
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Defense Attorney Meredith Lugo told jurors that McLeod was at a party in Ed Boussieres' first floor apartment seated on a couch alongside Wanda Ford for nearly an hour before the fire started. One thing defense and prosecution agree on is that McLeod was very drunk that night.
"Four people died that night," Collins said, his voice breaking. "I was the first, and probably the last one who could have got to them."
Hinckley said McLeod set the fire to get back at his former girlfriend, who still lived in the building at 88 High Street, and to get even with other residents he felt had given him a hard time.
ANDY HERSHBERGER WINDOWS LIVE FROM THE COURT JOINS US LIVE FROM THE BIRDHOUSE. ANDY? PROSECUTORS SAY IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW MANY YEARS OF ASKED. DAVID MCLEOD NEEDS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE DEADLY FIRE HE SET IN 1989. HE IS ON TRIAL FIRST 44 COUNTS OF SECOND DEGREE MURDER. FOR FOUR COUNTS OF SECOND DEGREE MURDER. HE LIVED IN THE APARTMENT BUILDING IN KEENE. HIS EX GIRLFRIEND ALSO LIVED IN THAT BUILDING. HIS MOTIVE FOR SETTING THE FIRE WAS HE WAS ANGRY AT HER. THE STATE SAYS WHEN HE LEARNED THAT FOUR PEOPLE DIED, HE CHANGED HIS 10. HE HAD MEANT TO BURN, DESTROY, DISPLAYS. HE MET TO STRIKE BACK. BUT HE DIDN'T MEAN TO KILL. BUT THAT IS IN FACT WHAT HE DID. IS INSENSITIVE COMMENTS, HIS BAD CONDUCT, HIS DRUNKEN HUMOR WERE JUST THAT. HE WAS DRUNK AND HE WAS STUPID. AT NOTHING MORE. THE DISSENT SAYS IT WAS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO START THAT FIRE THE DEFENSE SAYS IT WAS PHYSICALLY Puma Basket Heart Review
Testimony in what is expected to be a three week trial resumes Wednesday.
Killed in the fire were 49 year old Carl Hina, his 26 year old wife, Lori, and daughters Sara, 12 and Lillian, who was four months old. Fifteen other residents escaped the blaze.
Lugo said Ford provided McLeod's alibi during sworn testimony at a court proceeding in February 1989, but said cold case investigators didn't have the file with that testimony in it.
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