Thursday, September 18, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;47.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-09-18 01:39:02
Friday, April 25, 2014

Man shot by Nashua officer may use ‘stand your ground’ defense; wants to bar officers from court hearings

NASHUA – The man shot by a local police officer last month may use the state’s “stand your ground” law to defend himself against charges that he tried to assault the officer.

Craig Riley’s attorneys, public defenders Anthony Sculimbrene and Kelsey Engelbrecht, filed a motion saying he may use the “physical defense in defense of a person” law and claim that his actions were justified because he had a reasonable belief that Officer Stephen Morrill was about to use unlawful force against him, according to court documents. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – The man shot by a local police officer last month may use the state’s “stand your ground” law to defend himself against charges that he tried to assault the officer.

Craig Riley’s attorneys, public defenders Anthony Sculimbrene and Kelsey Engelbrecht, filed a motion saying he may use the “physical defense in defense of a person” law and claim that his actions were justified because he had a reasonable belief that Officer Stephen Morrill was about to use unlawful force against him, according to court documents.

Riley, 41, a Nashua resident, was shot twice by Morrill during an altercation inside the Knightsbridge Arms condo complex March 23. Morrill reportedly stopped Riley’s vehicle in the complex while looking for a theft suspect reported by Bedford police. Morrill chased and then caught Riley when he fled on foot, police said.

Police said Riley first tried to grab Morrill’s gun and then grabbed Morrill’s expandable baton and tried to hit the officer with it. Morrill fired twice, striking Riley both times. Both men were treated at city hospitals, police said.

The notice of defense motion does not indicate what unlawful force Riley may have believed was imminent.

The state attorney general’s office is investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting itself.

Police Chief John Seusing said Morrill will be on paid administrative leave until that investigation, as well as the Nashua department’s own reviews, are completed.

Riley was indicted this month on a slew of charges.

In earlier motions, his lawyers indicated that one of Riley’s wounds may indicate he was shot in the back. Engelbrecht said a gunshot wound in Riley’s flank entered through his back but made no exit wound.

Another motion filed by Riley’s attorneys asks a judge to bar Nashua police officers from future hearings, in case they need to be called to testify.

The motion to sequester witnesses states that multiple officers have attended hearings in the case to show their support for Morrill. Because the case is in its early stages and many officers were involved in the investigation, Sculimbrene wrote that he doesn’t know which of those officers may end up taking the witness stand.

Riley is facing 16 criminal counts, including attempted first-degree assault, taking a firearm from a law enforcement officer, criminal threatening, resisting arrest and simple assault, among others, according to court documents.

Riley waived his arraignment at Hillsborough County Superior Court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty. He is being held on $25,000 cash-only bail, according to court documents.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached
at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote
on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).