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Monday, February 27, 2012

litchfield

Alleged killer to be arraigned Monday

More information about 38-year-old Nicole R. LeBlanc and why police suspect her of killing a former Litchfield man six weeks ago is expected to be released Monday morning at LeBlanc’s arraignment in Derry.

Richard Mannion Jr., a Gulf War veteran who was 43 when he was found dead in his Sandown home Jan. 14, was one of several local soldiers whose families were featured in two Telegraph stories in February 1991, when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein announced he was withdrawing Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

Mannion’s wife at the time, Kimberly, told a Telegraph reporter she was talking to her husband on the phone when he told her to turn on the TV because he’d just heard Iraq was pulling out of Kuwait. Like other soldiers’ families, Kimberly Mannion, who at the time lived in Litchfield with her 4-month-old daughter, was cautiously optimistic that Saddam would follow through.

The death of Richard Mannion, who was 22 when he joined the Army in 1989, was ruled a homicide shortly after police responding to a 911 call at his 31 Hollow Oak Drive found him dead inside.

Attorney General Michael A. Delaney said in a statement that LeBlanc, whose address he declined to release, is charged with first-degree murder. He provided no further details in the case, nor cited any possible motive. LeBlanc is held without bail pending Monday’s arraignment, which Delaney said is set for 9 a.m. in the Derry district court.

– DEAN SHALHOUP

NASHUA

Army awards BAE $23m contract

The Army has awarded BAE Systems a $23 million contract to provide lightweight handheld Laser Target Locator Modules, the company announced Friday.

Work on the modules will be performed at BAE’s facilities in Nashua, Lexington, Mass., and Austin, Texas.

BAE’s TRIGR target location system uses targeting technology to allow soldiers to identify target locations on foot, in daylight or at night, and in obscured-visibility conditions such as fog or smoke. Users can recognize targets more than 4.2 kilometers away in daylight and 900 meters in darkness.

The LTLM consists of a direct-view optic system, a night-vision camera, a laser range finder, a digital compass, and a GPS receiver and weighs less than 5.5 pounds, officials said.

“Removing weight from soldiers’ packs makes their jobs easier, enabling them to complete missions faster and with greater precision,” Bill Ashe, LTLM program manager said in a statement.

BAE Systems was awarded the contract after it received a $72 million contract for initial LTLM production in 2009 from the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier. Initial fielding of the units is slated for this month, officials said.

– MARYALICE GILL