Friday, October 31, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;42.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/novc.png;2014-10-31 01:34:09
Saturday, August 2, 2014

Questions about eyewitness raised in case of shooting by Nashua police

NASHUA – Prosecutors are disputing a Nashua man’s claims that there was an eyewitness to a struggle he had with a Nashua police officer that ended with the man being shot twice.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Kathleen Broderick argued that attorneys for Craig Riley should not depose Officer Steven Morrill based on the statements of another man who told a detective that Riley was unarmed at the time of the March 22 struggle because the witness first told police he only saw the immediate aftermath of the shooting and didn’t know whether Riley had a weapon. ...

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 – Prosecutors are disputing a Nashua man’s claims that there was an eyewitness to a struggle he had with a Nashua police officer that ended with the man being shot twice.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Kathleen Broderick argued that attorneys for Craig Riley should not depose Officer Steven Morrill based on the statements of another man who told a detective that Riley was unarmed at the time of the March 22 struggle because the witness first told police he only saw the immediate aftermath of the shooting and didn’t know whether Riley had a weapon.

“By and large, this is not a complex case,” Broderick wrote in a motion filed at Hillsborough County Superior Court. “The defendant and officer Morrill were the only two people who witnessed the entire event. There were very few witnesses who witnessed any part of the defendant’s criminal conduct upon officer Morrill.”

Riley’s attorney, public defender Anthony Sculimbrene, has said in his own motions that it appears Riley was shot once in the back.

Sculimbrene also wants to depose Morrill and a police detective based on their description of the shooting.

Police say the shooting took place as Riley was swinging Morrill’s baton at him, placing him in fear of being seriously injured or killed.

An investigation by the attorney general’s office determined Morrill’s use of force was justified. He returned to normal patrol duties after the inquiry and an internal review by Nashua police, Chief John Seusing said.

Riley, 41, of Nashua, is facing a slew of felony charges, including attempted first-degree assault and resisting arrest. Police say Riley ran from Morrill the evening of March 22 and assaulted Morrill several times during a series of altercations and foot chases in and around the Knightsbridge Condominium complex off Amherst Street.

Riley eventually took Morrill’s baton and was in the process of swinging it toward the officer’s head when Morrill fired, police said.

Riley was shot in the shoulder and a second time in the side. That bullet lodged in his body and shows a “clear entrance wound” on his back, according to Sculimbrene’s motion.

Jonathan Villaronga told police he thought “it wasn’t right what the officer did,” according to Sculimbrene’s motion.

“I don’t know how the law is over here, you know, but I mean the guy had no weapon on him, you know. It’s crazy,” the man said, according to the motion.

Broderick said in her objection to the deposition request that the witness’s initial statements to police show he didn’t see the shooting. Villaronga said he looked through his peephole after hearing noises in the hallway outside his door but didn’t see anyone. He said he did hear someone say, “Put it down. Put it down,” and then two gunshots.

“Mr. Villaronga was not in the hallway and did not see anything that took place there,” Broderick wrote. “Mr. Villaronga first reported not knowing what the defendant had in his hand or whether he had a weapon and then changed his statement at the end of his interview by asserting the defendant didn’t have a weapon.”

Morrill, a Nashua officer since 2010, returned to patrol duty in May after several weeks of paid administrative leave and desk duty while the attorney general and Nashua police investigated the shooting. The attorney general released a report May 16 that said Morrill was justified in using deadly force because he had a reasonable belief he was in danger of death or serious injury.

Riley was indicted in April on a number of charges, 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.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com.