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  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Matthew Packer arrives handcuffed for his probable cause hearing Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at Nashua District Court.
  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Matthew Packer arrives handcuffed for his probable cause hearing Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at Nashua District Court. The case will move to Hillsborough County Superior Court.
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grand jury indicts Nashua man on murder, other charges

NASHUA – The man who police say stabbed an off-duty paramedic to death on a downtown street in October has been indicted on murder charges.

Matthew Packer, 19, of 36 Carlene Drive, was indicted on first-degree murder, and an alternate charge of second-degree murder, in the stabbing death of Paul Frontiero on Oct. 9, after an argument on Spruce Street.

A Hillsborough County grand jury also indicted Packer on a charge of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Kathryn Libby in the same incident, and on first-degree assault charges for allegedly stabbing Libby and cutting Jill Arnold.

The indictments were among the grand jury’s list of indictments released Wednesday morning.

The alleged assault occurred outside the 13 Spruce St. duplex, where Frontiero lived with his roommate, Arnold.

Arnold told The Telegraph she was walking outside the apartment with a friend, who shouted an innocent remark toward a passing vehicle.

The car immediately turned around, and one man, whom police later identified as Packer, emerged from the passenger seat, shouting and eventually pulling a knife,

Packer’s brother, James Packer, and Rose Chavez, also were indicted on charges of hindering prosecution related to the alleged crime.

James Packer, 21, also of 36 Carlene Drive, and Chavez, of 23 Eastern Ave., Amherst, are accused of driving Matthew Packer after the stabbings to a relative’s place in Wareham, Mass. to prevent him from being arrested.

The first-degree murder indictment alleges Matthew Packer “purposely” caused Frontiero’s death “by stabbing him multiple times with a knife.”

The second-degree murder indictment alleges Packer caused Frontiero’s death “under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life by stabbing him multiple times with a knife.”

Witnesses said Packer randomly attacked the three victims. Frontiero, a 27-year-old paramedic, has been lauded as a hero for coming to the girls’ aid after Packer allegedly assaulted them.

Nashua police Detective Daniel Mederos interviewed Packer, 19, after Wareham police arrested him Oct. 10. Packer told Mederos that he described hearing someone yell at the car they were in as it drove by 13 Spruce St., around 10 p.m. Oct. 9, Mederos testified Wednesday.

Packer told the driver, Zachary Jensen, to turn around, and when he got out of the car in front of the house, five people were outside and “charged” at him. Packer told police one man hit him in the ear, and he took out a knife and began stabbing that man, Mederos testified.

Packer also told police he has bipolar disorder and he “snapped and lost control” after he was hit. Packer said he hadn’t been taking medication for the disorder because of the expense, Mederos testified.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or