Gage denied parole

He will still be released in March

CONCORD – Members of the state parole board on Thursday denied parole for Peter Gage, the Lyndeborough man imprisoned 15 years ago after a conviction for assaulting his wife.

Gage, however, will leave New Hampshire State Prison March 15 when his sentence is complete. He will likely spend the rest of his life in a psychiatric facility.

At the end of the brief hearing, New Hampshire Adult Parole Board Chairwoman Donna Sytek said the decision was made from the perspective of the “horrible abuse” suffered by Mary Gage and also of the prisoner’s deteriorating mental condition.

Gage was arrested on attempted murder and assault charges, along with the couple’s son, Lyman, in 2004 after rescue workers rushed Mary to the hospital. The couple had horses, boarded dogs on their property and were well known in town. When the news came out that Peter had reportedly been beating his wife for multiple years, had strangled her to the point of unconsciousness and locked her in a room without food or water, friends and neighbors were horrified.

Police had called it the worse case of elder abuse they had ever seen.

Gage did not attend the hearing. Stephen Jewell, with the nonprofit Office of Public Guardian, was appointed as lifelong guardian because Gage is considered incompetent.

Jewell told the board the prisoner has a major cognitive impairment and is on the wait list for Glenncliff, a psychiatric nursing home in Warren. If they need to investigate other options, he said, Gage will likely go to New Hampshire Hospital, the state mental hospital.

Gage’s case manager, psychiatric nurse Laura Culbert Epison, told the board he has been in the prison infirmary for more than a year, after being victimized in prison for years. He had a mild stroke in October, she said, because he refused to take medication, and is severely paranoid, believing that people are stealing from him.

“He resists everything,” she said, and while not being a discipline problem, has major behavioral issues.

His roommates in the infirmary are supportive, she said, urging him to cooperate and saying, “you can’t just land on the street.”

His main concern about going to Glenncliff, Culbert Epison said, is whether he can take his walker.

There are days he believes his wife is alive, she said, and he insists adamantly that his former home, on Glass Factory Road in Lyndeborough, is still there and that his car is still there.

Friends of Mary Gage, Petr Lord and Liesl Clark, attended the hearing, but did not speak. Lord had told Mary, who died in 2010 at age 80, that he will see the process to the end.

Later, Lord said in an email that this final parole hearing left him overwhelmed.

“What he did to Mary was unconscionable, without a doubt, and I would never minimize that, but it still pained me to think he was taken advantage of because of his age and diminished mental capacity.