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Staff photo by Don Himsel Corey Furgal, arraignment, November 2, 2009.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Theft accusation may have led to murder

MERRIMACK – A dispute over a missing iPod set off a confrontation that led to murder at a Halloween party in Merrimack last fall, according to court documents.

Corey Furgal, 24, of 16 Bel Air Avenue in Merrimack, was charged with the second-degree murder of Christopher Vydfol, 20, of Nashua during a gathering on Bedford Road on Nov. 1.

Court documents related to the incident have been sealed since the incident because the investigation was in its early stages. Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell recently requested that the documents be unsealed, which Merrimack District Court Judge Clifford Kinghorn did Friday.

Multiple witnesses told police that during the party, Furgal was accused of taking someone’s iPod, and when he was asked to empty his pockets, he refused.

Instead, witnesses said, Furgal brandished a knife and began making threats. Furgal told police he felt threatened, showed his knife for protection and was assaulted by a crowd.

Witness accounts differ as to what happened next, but police charge an encounter between Vydfol and Furgal occurred in the driveway, which is where Vydfol was stabbed in the chest, according to court documents.

During interviews with police, Robert Brackett of 157 Bedford Road said he was hosting a party at the house, which is owned by his father, Geoffrey Brackett, who was out of town that weekend. Brackett told police he knew Furgal from their time together at school.

Police conducted interviews with several guests, including George Bigwood, 20; Steven Massua, 20; and Zakk Moore, 21; and Zachary Cassidy, no age given, among others. Their addresses were not provided in court documents.

Moore told police that at some point during the party, he realized he was missing his iPod mp3 player. Moore began asking around about it and requested that people gathered on the porch empty their pockets, according to court documents.

Cassidy told police everyone on the porch emptied their pockets but Furgal.

Moore said the man, who was wearing jeans and a black shirt with “dude” written on it, “flipped out” and pulled out a knife, documents show. Bigwood told police Furgal became angry when asked about the iPod, pulled out a knife and “commented that he spent time in Concord State Prison,” court documents show.

Massua told officers that after Furgal pulled out a knife, the scuffle spilled from the porch to the front of the residence.

Massua said when Vydfol tried to talk to Furgal, they got into an argument, and Furgal stabbed Vydfol. In follow-up interviews, Massua told police he saw Furgal holding “a shiny object,” and that Furgal “lunged” at Vydfol and stabbed him in the chest.

Cassidy’s account was that Furgal was walking down the driveway with Vydfol, and that Furgal held his knife out to try to pass him. Cassidy turned away at that point, and when he turned back, Vydfol was “clutching his chest saying he had been stabbed,” according to the documents.

Brackett told police he heard about the stabbing from inside the house, which led him to run down the driveway and grab a baseball bat from his Jeep and chase after Furgal, whom he caught up with on Bedford Road. Brackett told police he hit Fugral across the back with the bat just as police arrived.

Police arrived at the two-story colonial house at 1:47 a.m., responding to a 911 call placed by a neighbor at 2 Chadsworth Court, documents show. Merrimack officer Sean McGuire and Sgt. Dennis Foley were first to arrive. They saw several cars parked in the driveway, along with people milling outside, close to the house.

The officers also spotted a person lying on the ground, who was later identified as Vydfol. He was “in distress,” police said. Vydfol had an apparent injury to his chest and told police he had been stabbed.

Paramedics responded and determined Vydfol had a 3⁄4-inch wound on his lower sternum. Vydfol was taken to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua, where doctors determined his heart had been pierced. He died at the hospital the same day.

Back on Bedford Road, several people in the surrounding group told McGuire that Vydfol had been stabbed by “Corey,” court documents show.

Moments later, McGuire noticed a man running from across the street toward the house. The man, later identified as Furgal, was still being chased by Brackett wielding the baseball bat, court documents show.

Police detained both men. As officers spoke with people in the driveway, Merrimack officer David Mercer noticed Furgal remove an iPod music player from his pocket, which police recovered. Moore later confirmed the color and serial number of the iPod as his own.

Officers interviewed the Chadsworth Court homeowner, who told police he awoke to screaming, someone ringing his doorbell and banging on the door. When the homeowner answered, a man yelled to let him in. The homeowner did so, and then called 911.

Officers later searched the Chadsworth Court house and discovered, just off the front steps in some bushes, a four-inch blade with a silver handle. It had blood on it.

Officers brought Furgal to the Merrimack Police Station, where master patrolman Christopher Dowling said he noticed blood on Furgal’s hands and arms but said Furgal did not complain of injuries. Dowling reported that Furgal began pacing and told Dowling that he “(expletive) up” and “wanted to talk to somebody.”

According to court documents, Merrimack Detective Ted Dillon conducted an interview with Furgal, who at one point asked to clean his hands. Furgal then told police they “should not find his fingerprints on the knife” because it was not his “style” to stab someone. Furgal then told Dillon the incident was “a conspiracy,” and that the people on the porch “jumped” him and “the kid must have stabbed himself.”

Sgt. Mark Armaganian of the New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit – and lead detective on the case – continued interviewing Furgal.

Furgal said he had been accused of taking someone’s iPod and was asked to empty his pockets. He refused because he felt threatened by the group, so he pulled out his folding knife, opening it to protect himself, court documents stated.

According to the documents, Furgal said he was assaulted, so he jumped down and began walking down the driveway. He noticed a person walking with him, and then a crowd from the party rushed toward him and assaulted him.

Furgal said that during the struggle, he “may have stabbed someone.”

Furgal is charged with second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty to the charge. He has been held without bail since his arrest. Earlier this month, his lawyers filed a motion that Furgal should be entitled to bail. Morrell said then that her office planned to object.

Brackett was charged with facilitating an underage drinking party. His trial is scheduled for Merrimack District Court today .

Karen Lovett can be reached at 594-6402 or