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Corey Furgal enters courtroom 8 at the Hillsborough County Superior Courthouse in Nashua Monday, April5, 2010.
Monday, January 24, 2011

Selection of jury starting in trial over fatal stabbing

NASHUA – Jury selection is set to begin today in the trial of a Merrimack man who claims he stabbed a Nashua man in self-defense after a confrontation over a stolen iPod.

Corey Furgal, 25, has been jailed since his arrest shortly after stabbing Christopher Vydfol, 20, of Nashua, in the chest outside 157 Bedford Road, Merrimack, where both men were attending a Halloween party on Oct. 31, 2009.

Furgal faces two alternative counts of second-degree murder and a charge of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon. He could be sentenced to up to life in prison, if convicted of second-degree murder.

Furgal and his lawyers, public defenders James Malfitani and Paul Borchardt, argue that he acted in self-defense after being set upon and beaten by a mob. The prosecutors, Susan Morrell and James Vara of the attorney general’s office, contend that Vydfol was just trying to calm down Furgal and keep the peace when Furgal turned and stabbed him.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Diane Nicolosi ruled on a series of pretrial motions Jan. 13, after hearing arguments Jan. 5, court records show.

The stabbing took place after a confrontation that erupted over a stolen iPod during the party, according to court records. Furgal had previously bragged about his past criminal record, but when asked to turn out his pockets, he refused and pulled a knife, witnesses told police. The iPod was later found on Furgal, according to court records.

Furgal at first denied having a knife but later said he drew it in defense, because his accusers were threatening him.

Vydfol followed as Furgal and a friend were leaving the party, walking down the driveway, and several other persons were further behind them, witnesses told police.

“Christopher Vydfol was acting as a peacemaker, encouraging the defendant to leave the party without further problems,” prosecutors wrote.

One witness, Steve Massau, told police he saw something shiny in Furgal’s hand and saw Furgal turn and thrust his hand and the object into Vydfol’s chest. Vydfol then walked back toward the house and his friends but collapsed in the driveway, telling several witnesses, “He stabbed me!”

Witnesses can testify about Vydfol’s statements, Nicolosi ruled, and about Furgal’s alleged threat, called back toward the group as he was walking away, shortly before the stabbing, to “squirt the place up,” apparently meaning to shoot at the house.

Furgal’s earlier boasting about his criminal record will not be allowed as evidence, however, she ruled.

Furgal’s lawyers also will not be allowed to cite evidence from other, unrelated stabbings, so as to argue that Furgal didn’t expect that Vydfol would die from being stabbed in the chest, Nicolosi ruled.

Furgal at first denied having a knife, or having stabbed Vydfol, when questioned by Merrimack police. He later admitted it, but said he acted in self-defense, however, and that others at the party had threatened and beat him.

Furgal’s statement will be used as evidence, with a few minor redactions including references to his bipolar disorder, Nicolosi ruled.

The party’s host, Robert Brackett, admitted he chased down Furgal and hit him with a baseball bat, but that was after the stabbing. Furgal ran to a neighbor’s house on Chadwick Circle, where he pounded on the door called for help.

A bloodied folding knife was later found in some bushes near the door.

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