- Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom
Nicholas Heinemann sobs following his statement to the court in Hillsborough Superior Court Thursday, March 29, 2012. He is serving 25 years in prison for the 1987 murder of Judith Frazier.
- Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom
Nicholas Heinemann gives the thumbs up to a family member as he enters Hillsborough County Superior Court Thursday, March 29, 2012. He is asking for an early release from prison after serving 25 years for the 1987 murder of Judith Frazier.
Judge denies killer’s request for early prison release
NASHUA – A judge has denied a killer’s request to be released from prison two years before serving his minimum sentence.
Nicholas Heinemann was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison for killing his neighbor in 1987 in a Railroad Square apartment. At the time, Heinemann was 15 years old and tried as an adult.
Heinemann, 39, has served 25 years. He appeared March 29 at a Hillsborough County Superior Court hearing to request early release. John Frazier, a Nashua firefighter and son of murder victim Judith Ann Frazier, spoke against the request.
Judith Ann Frazier was 44 when Heinemann broke into her apartment and repeatedly stabbed and bludgeoned her.
In an ruling dated Tuesday, Judge Jacalyn Colburn denied Heinemann’s request, meaning he’ll have to serve two more years in State Prison before he has a chance for parole.
In her five-page written ruling, Colburn acknowledged Heinemann’s argument that he has accepted responsibility for the brutal stabbing and bludgeoning, found religion, completed prison programs and took other steps to rehabilitate himself.
Colburn also acknowledged that Heinemann has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.
Several prison volunteers appeared in court on Heinemann’s behalf during the March hearing.
However, Colburn said these efforts, though “noteworthy,” weren’t “extraordinary.” Also Heinemann “did not remain discipline free” during his incarceration and was charged with 30 infractions of prison rules, Colburn noted.
Many infractions were minor, but some were “significant for behavior associated with aggression, violence and dishonesty,” Colburn noted.
Also, while many infractions occurred during the 1990s, some happened within the past six years, “making it illogical to conclude that Mr. Heinemann has been an exemplary prisoner,” Colburn wrote.
During the hearing, Assistant Attorney General James Vara questioned Heinemann’s sincerity in accepting responsibility for the murder.
In other requests for pardon, including one in 2007, Heinemann denied responsibility, Colburn noted.
“The Court considers this in contrast to Mr. Heinemann’s seemingly genuine display of remorse at the recent hearing,” Colburn wrote.
Colburn said that the statement John Frazier gave at the hearing “serves as reminder of the torment both the victim and her family endured as a result of Mr. Heinemann’s actions.”
Colburn added, “The Court recognizes the severe pain, anguish, and loss those actions caused and accepts why Mr. Frazier might reject the defendant’s apologies.”
During the March 29 hearing, as Heinemann begged forgiveness, John Frazier walked from the courtroom. He returned after Heinemann had finished to tell the court he could never forgive the man who brutally killed his mother.
John Frazier, 38, is a Nashua firefighter with a distinguished record of volunteering. Like Heinemann, he grew up in a tough environment, but unlike the murderer, he never used that as an excuse, Frazier told the court.
In denying his request, Colburn wrote that the court didn’t intend to minimize Heinemann’s efforts, especially his “volunteerism, educational advancements and work with the Alternatives to Violence Project as a facilitator and aide.”
She added, “None of these efforts can ever mitigate the horrendous crime against Judith Frazier and her family, but will serve as evidence that justice was served by the Court’s original sentence.”
Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or firstname.lastname@example.org.