Barnaby suppression hearing winds on
NASHUA – Before he was charged with murder on allegations he and another man killed two female neighbors in their Mason street apartment early the morning of Oct. 3, 1988, Anthony Barnaby was either "interviewed," "interrogated," or both, by detectives for more than 30 hours at police headquarters.
Which is more accurate is a matter of perspective, as was demonstrated Wednesday morning during day two of the Superior Court hearing on Barnaby’s motion to suppress about two-thirds of the statements he provided to police during a marathon 20-hour series of interviews three days after the murders.
"So for the bulk of those 30 hours – about 25 hours – he was in interrogations with law enforcement?" defense attorney Alan Cronheim asked then-detective Wayne MacDonald, who returned to the witness stand Wednesday morning.
"No," MacDonald replied, calling the discussions with Barnaby "Interviews … not interrogations."
"The defendant was in the interview room for that period of time, yes … but it wasn’t a constant back and forth," MacDonald added. "There were many breaks."
Prosecutors and defense attorneys completed their questioning of MacDonald at noon Wednesday, making way for the next witness, retired Nashua Police Chief Timothy Hefferan, who, like MacDonald, was a detective at the time of the murders.
Barnaby, now 49, and fellow Canadian David Caplin, 54, were arrested and charged but never convicted in the killings of Charlene Ranstrom and Brenda Warner, a lesbian couple whom both men said they hated because of their lifestyle.
Barnaby became a free man after jurors in three successive trials failed to convict him, while the prosecution ended up dropping the charges against Caplin for lack of evidence.
Both returned to their native Canada, and were in prison on unrelated crimes when local and state law enforcement authorities, acting on newly discovered evidence, re-filed murder charges in 2010 and had them extradited back to New Hampshire.
Each was subsequently indicted on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder. They have since been held in jail without bail while awaiting trial.
The hearing is set to resume at 10 a.m. Thursday in Judge Jacalyn Colburn’s courtroom at Hillsborough County Superior Court South.
Cronheim and veteran Attorney Mark Sisti are representing Barnaby, while state Attorneys General Susan Morrell, Patrick Queenan and Jason Casey are prosecuting the case. The Telegraph misidentified Casey in a Page 1 story on Wednesday.
In their motion, which seeks to suppress statements made by Barnaby over the course of 20 hours on Oct. 6 and into early Oct. 7, Sisti and Cronheim contend that police violated his Constitutional rights by detaining him without probable cause and "relentlessly" interrogating him in order to coerce him to confess.
The other 10 hours of interviews, which all took place on Oct. 3 beginning around 10 a.m., are not included in the motion to suppress.
Morrell said at the conclusion of Wednesday’s testimony that the state plans to present transcripts of testimony that then-detective Frank Paison, who has since died, gave at one or more of Barnaby’s three trials.
They are also weighing whether to call former Nashua officer Tim Goulden, who is now a defense attorney and has had cases in the Nashua court.
Sisti, meanwhile, said that now-retired Nashua police Lt. Roger Vaillancourt has agreed to testify, and is expected in court for the start of Thursday’s proceedings.
Colburn told the attorneys that it’s possible the hearing may extend beyond Friday, in which case the parties will convene to figure out a schedule.
Earlier Wednesday, MacDonald agreed with Cronheim that when a suspect, during police interviews, denies he or she is involved in a crime it constitutes "important information" for police.
But when Cronheim asked if MacDonald "knows how many times (Barnaby) denied involvement" to him or other detectives, MacDonald said he didn’t. "I can’t say," he replied.
Cronheim also addressed an issue that had come up briefly on Tuesday: What exactly Barnaby meant when, after completing one of his statements, he closed with "That’s it … I’m finished."
Showing MacDonald the first part of the two-part statement, Cronheim pointed out the phrase.
"The defendant said he finished giving statements, but you asked him to continue?" "Yes," MacDonald replied, quickly adding "he didn’t indicate he wanted to leave. He just said he was finished with the statement.
"When he said that, he never said he was ending the conversation," MacDonald said, adding that they took a break and brought Barnaby coffee and doughnuts.
Later, Cronheim asked MacDonald about the involvement in the interview process of then-Capt. Paul Goupil, at the time the head of the department’s detective bureau.
"You didn’t see Capt. Goupil speak with (Barnaby), right?" Cronheim asked. "Correct," MacDonald said. "But you know he did?" "Yes."
"What is your view or someone coming in (to MacDonald’s interview) without discussing it with you?" Cronheim asked.
"I would not want that," MacDonald said.
Later, Sisti raised the Goupil matter while questioning Hefferan. "So (Barnaby) was all by himself with Capt. Goupil?" Sisti asked, to which Hefferan replied "yes."
"But there’s nothing in your report that says your interview was interrupted for 30-45 minutes," Sisti said. "Correct," Hefferan answered.
"Are you supposed to leave 30-45-minute gaps?" Sisti asked. "I don’t know how I can answer that," Hefferan said.
"When you were chief, would you have allowed that to happen?" Sisti said.
The officer "would have been spoken to," Hefferan replied. "It would have been dealt with, so it wouldn’t happen again."
Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, email@example.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.