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Friday, November 12, 2010

Juror speaks out about verdict

After hearing weeks of horrific testimony in the Steven Spader trial, juror Mark Langlois had one final thing to say: “Guilty.”

When he was done calling out his verdict on Tuesday, Langlois said he and other jurors just wanted to get away from pictures so vile they cannot be forgotten.

“After the case was over and we were released, we didn’t want to talk to anybody, and we all escaped to our cars and took off and we actually met down the street and talked about the aftermath,” Langlois said in a phone interview yesterday.

None of the jurors had any doubt that Spader, 19, was guilty, Langlois said. The only reason they took a full 90 minutes to deliberate was to carefully evaluate the law.

Spader was convicted on Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua of two counts of first degree murder in Kimberly Cates’ death and attempted murder for the attack on young Jaimie Cates, as well as three other crimes.

Langlois, 50, said Spader’s life sentence, handed up immediately after the guilty verdict, was fitting because Spader seemed to love that his crimes were put on display for everyone to see.

That may change now that he will be living in 48 square feet, with 23 hours a day of isolation at the New Hampshire State Prison, Langlois said.

“Maybe that is a lot better than the death penalty,” Langlois said. “You put him in his own cell right now, and that alone is probably going to be a hell for him.”

Langlois had one regret: Not meeting David Cates, Kimberly’s husband and Jaimie’s father.

“If that had been my wife and daughter I don’t know if I would have been able to remain in control as he was, especially after seeing it day after day relived,” he said.

A graphic designer and photographer in Manchester, Langlois said the trial’s graphic nature cut deep, but jurors found comfort in the shared experience. He shunned talk of therapy and said what all of them really need is the chance to talk it out.

“I equate the whole experience to if we were all soldiers who experienced the same battle and survived it and saw a lot of pretty bad things and got through it,” he said. “We’ve actually become a very tight group out of this now. We’re actually planning on meeting and getting together once in a while and just talking about things. It might even be our own therapy.”

Langlois does not try to analyze Spader, why he killed or how he could sit in court emotionless and listen to graphic descriptions of him hacking a woman to death. He said the answer is probably simple.

“Sometimes somebody is just so bad and that’s all you can say,” Langlois said. “You can do all the analysis you want. Sometimes people are just not people.”

He added: “Just looking at him sometimes, the stare he has, is very unnerving.”

“As far as the prosecution, I think those three individuals were sharp as tacks and were dead on,” he said.

He praised Judge Jillian Abramson, as well.

“I really impressed with the judge too, I thought her comments at the end of the sentencing were right on,” he said. “She’s equally horrified at everything and she had the power to do something about it.”