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  • Staff photo by Don Himsel Gary Marchand arrives in the courtroom at Nashua District Court Monday, September 28, 2009 for his arraignment. Marchand, of Hollis, is charged with murdering his wife. The charges allege that he beat his wife to death after binding her hands and feet, and gagging her.
  • Staff file photo by Don Himsel Gary Marchand is charged with murdering his wife. The charges allege that he beat his wife to death after binding her hands and feet, and gagging her.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hollis man indicted in wife’s death

NASHUA – A Hollis man accused of beating his wife to death will face alternate charges of first-degree and second-degree murder. Gary Marchand, 53, was indicted on the charges during this month’s grand jury in Hillsborough County Superior Court, and he is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Jan. 7.

Marchand was previously charged only with second-degree murder but has remained jailed since his arrest Sept. 25. As an accused murderer, he is not eligible for bail under state law.

Marchand faces life in prison without chance of parole if convicted of first-degree murder and up to life for second-degree murder.

A friend of Marchand’s called police after dropping Marchand off at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua, where Marchand was treated for a cut to his wrist from an apparent suicide attempt, one of the lead investigators testified previously in Nashua District Court.

Marchand had called his friend James Lavoie, of Tewksbury, Mass., for a ride, and while they were en route to the hospital, he allegedly told Lavoie he had killed his wife, Phyllis Marchand, 45, three days earlier.

Hollis police officers Richard Bergeron and Katharine Walsh found Phyllis Marchand’s body in the bathtub of their home at 458 Silver Lake Road, wrapped in a shower curtain, State Police Detective Sgt. Steve Rowland testified. “They observed a large amount of blood on the kitchen floor; they observed bloody footprints that went down the hallway,” Rowland said.

The followed the footprints to the bathroom, where they found Marchand, who had clearly been murdered, Rowland said. Her wrists and ankles had been bound with plastic zip ties, and a necktie was tightened around her head, gagging her mouth. “Her face was swollen, black and blue. It appeared that she had been beaten severely,” he said.

The indictments allege Gary Marchand kicked, punched and beat his wife, using his hands, feet and blunt and sharp objects. The injuries he inflicted, and leaving her bound and gagged in the bathtub, all combined to kill her, the indictments allege.

Police contacted Marchand at the hospital, and he went willingly from there to the Hollis police station, where police got warrants to search his person and clothing, and document various scratches on his hands and neck. Police also searched the house and seized evidence including a pair of bloodied men’s sneakers and two knives, at least one of which was bloodied and found in the bathroom.

The Marchands had separated and had put the home up for sale before Phyllis Marchand was murdered, and domestic violence experts say the case fits a common pattern of escalation upon separation.

Nearly half of all murders in New Hampshire could be characterized as domestic violence, statistics show, and experts warn that victims are never more at risk than during times when they try to break away from an abusive relationship.

Andrew Wolfe can be reached at 594-6410 or awolfe@nashuatelegraph.com.