Ex-cop denies making threats to Barnaby; suspect in 1988 homicides wants statements suppressed

NASHUA – Exactly what happened when former Nashua Police Capt. Paul Goupil spoke to Anthony Barnaby in the midst of the 1988 double-homicide investigation is the heart of Barnaby’s argument to have the statements he made suppressed.

"Oftentimes, good intentions end up with unintended consequences," Goupil said of his decision to enter the interview room where Barnaby was being questioned by detectives.

Former Nashua Police Officer Anthony Pivero testified that Goupil had bragged to him about being pivotal in getting Barnaby to confess to the murders, intimating he used threats to get the incriminating statement.

Goupil "said he knows how to get things done," Pivero testified. "He said he went in to talk to Barnaby in the interview room, and he said he had his (testicles) in his hands and he would cut them off."

Barnaby reportedly confessed – but not to Goupil – after some 30 hours of police questioning, though he has never been
convicted of the murders.

Barnaby, who turns 50 in April, was charged along with fellow Canadian David Caplin, now 54, with beating and stabbing to death Charlene Ranstrom and Brenda Warner in their Mason Street apartment on Oct. 3, 1988.

Neither man was ever convicted, however; Barnaby walked free after three juries failed to convict him, while prosecutors dropped Caplin’s charges because of a lack of evidence.

But some 20 years later, Nashua police resurrected the case after locating new evidence, including DNA, and refiled the murder charges. Barnaby and Caplin, who were in jail in Canada on unrelated crimes, were eventually extradited back to Nashua for a hearing that was held for four days through Friday at Hillsborough County Superior Court South.

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.

Barnaby’s attorney Mark Sisti tried to portray Goupil as a braggart who improperly interfered with his detectives’ interrogation of the suspect, walking into the room and speaking to Barnaby alone, contradicting the department’s standard protocol.

"I know who I am, counselor," Goupil said. "I don’t need to brag about it."

Goupil initially said he wanted a chance to speak to Barnaby and read his body language. Under questioning, his answers shifted slightly about why he entered the interview room. He said he went in because he knew that Barnaby, who was not then under arrest, could walk out or ask for a lawyer at any time.

"I knew this was going to be a one-shot deal," Goupil said.

Goupil declined to allow detectives to record the interviews, and he never filed a report about his conversation with Barnaby. Goupil denied making any threats to Barnaby, and instead testified that he spoke with the murder suspect about salmon fishing.

When detectives expressed frustration to Goupil that the interviews were going nowhere and going on too long, Goupil testified he thought it was important to keep going.

"We’re going to keep going until such time as we can’t," Goupil said.

Pivero said Goupil did brag about being a prime mover in getting Barnaby to confess. Barnaby reportedly gave a confession to detectives, including the now deceased Frank Paison.

Pivero testified that shortly after Barnaby and Caplin were brought back to New Hampshire in 2015, he spoke with Paison about the case. The two got around to talking about Goupil, and Paison reportedly said he would not lie for his former boss about the case, Pivero testified. Paison died two days after this conversation reportedly took place.

Assistant Attorney General Patrick Queenan tried to poke holes in Pivero’s story by pointing out his history of filing complaints against the Nashua Police Department. Pivero said he is concerned about the integrity of the department and some of the former top officers.

"It comes down to integrity," Pivero said. "You put a badge on, you better have integrity."

The hearing for Barnaby’s motions will continue in Hillsborough County Superior Court South next month.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245, dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF.