Barnaby plea anticipated

A sentence 30 years in the making

Telegraph file photo by Dean Shalhoup Nashua police officers escort Anthony Barnaby into the former Nashua District Court on Walnut Street for his arrangment, shortly after he was arrested in the days after the murders of two Nashua women.

NASHUA – Provided today’s plea and sentencing hearing for accused murderer Anthony Barnaby takes place as scheduled and is approved by a Superior Court judge, the proceedings in the two-part saga that is one of Nashua’s most infamous murder cases will finally come to an end.

The hearing is set for 11 a.m. in Judge Jacalyn Colburn’s courtroom at Hillsborough County Superior Court-South.

Reports last week that Barnaby, now 51, had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors brought into focus a long-elusive final disposition to a case that began around 7 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3, 1988, when the disabled son of one of the two female murder victims stumbled on their bodies and frantically called police.

The women, Brenda Warner, 32, and Charlene Ranstrom, 48, lived at 7 Mason St., in an upstairs apartment above the one where Barnaby was living, and where his alleged accomplice, David Caplin, was staying since arriving several days earlier from a First Nation, or Indian, reservation in Quebec.

The women, who were a couple, were beaten, bound with strips of fabric and physically and sexually assaulted sometime late in the night of Oct. 2 or early the morning of Oct. 3, 1988.

Telegraph file photo Anthony Barnaby, who is expected to enter a plea agreement Wednesday, leans over to speak with his attorneys, Alan Cronheim, left, and Mark Sisti, during a 2017 hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court South.

Following is a timeline of important dates in the nearly 30-year history of the case.


Oct. 3 – Police are called at about 7 a.m. to 7 Mason St. after two women are found dead in their second-floor apartment.

Oct. 4 – David Caplin, 25, later developed as one of two suspects in the murder, takes a taxi to Connecticut.

Oct. 5 – Anthony Barnaby, 21, a resident of a neighboring apartment, is arrested in connection with the deaths of the women, identified as Brenda Warner, 32, and Charlene Ranstrom, 48.

Telegraph file photo Anthony Barnaby, who is expected to enter a plea agreement Wednesday in the nearly 30-year-old double murder case, listens to testimony at a 2017 hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court South.

Oct. 6-7 – Barnaby undergoes a roughly 20-hour interrogation by police; his lawyers argue the confession he eventually gave was the result of the unusually lengthy interrogation.

Oct. 9 – Caplin is arrested in Boston for assaulting and threatening several people.


Fall – Barnaby, indicted on two counts each of first-degree murder and second-degree murder, goes on trial the first time. It ends in a mistrial.


Telegraph file photo Anthony Barnaby is shown in 1988 and 2011, when he and David Caplin were re-arrested for the Mason Street murders.

Jan. 2 – Barnaby goes on trial for the second time; it also ends in a mistrial.

May 14 – Barnaby’s third trial gets underway. Again, it ends in a mistrial.

June – Police arrest David Caplin on a warrant; he is also charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and second-degree murder.

July – Prosecutors opt not to try Barnaby a fourth time; he is released from prison and returns to his native Canada.


Staff file photo by Dean Shalhoup Anthony Barnaby, who is expected to plead guilty to murder charges Wednesday in an agreement with prosecutors, is shown with his attorneys, Nicholas Holmes, left, and Mark Sisti, during his first trial in September 1989 Nicholas Holmes, left; Mark Sisti, right, with Anthony Barnaby

Prosecutors drop the charges against Caplin, citing insufficient evidence. He is freed and also returns to his native Canada.


Both Barnaby and Caplin are arrested and charged with separate crimes in Canada, and sentenced to prison terms of several years each.


September – Veteran Nashua police detective Frank Bourgeois reopens the 1988 murder case, shortly after completing “Cold Case Investigation School.”

Telegraph file photo by Dean Shalhoup Nashua police officers escort David Caplin, Anthony Barnaby's co-defendant in the 1988 Nashua murders, from court following his arraignment in August 1989.

October – Bourgeois travels to Canada to interview Caplin, but Caplin declines to speak with him.

November – Bourgeois meets with Barnaby, who by then is out of prison.


March – Bourgeois wraps up interviews with several potential witnesses to the 1988 murders.

April 8 – Bourgeois seeks warrants for the re-arrests of Caplin and Barnaby. Judge Michael Ryan finds probable cause, and grants the warrants. The extradition proceedings begin, but include several snags – including the defendants’ desire to not return to New Hampshire.


May – The defendants are finally cleared for extradition, and are transported to Valley Street Jail in Manchester for processing. They are arraigned on the charges and subsequently indicted.


Feb. 14 – Caplin enters a plea agreement with prosecutors. He pleads guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in exchange for two, 10-to-20-year prison terms, with five years suspended. He is credited with 2,800 days of time served, bringing his net sentence to 7.5 years. The two first-degree murder counts are dropped.

Aug. 22 – Barnaby scheduled to enter plea agreement with prosecutors.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, or @Telegraph_DeanS.

Telegraph file photo David Caplin, Anthony Barnaby's co-defendant, in a 2011 photo

Staff file photo David Caplin, one of two men charged in the murder of two women in 1988, walks into Superior Court in April for a hearing in the case.

Courtesy photo A photo of the victims of the October 1988 stabbings, Charlene Ranstrom, left, and Brenda Warner.

Telegraph file photo by Dean Shalhoup The scene in October of 1988 outside of 7 Mason Street, Nashua, the day that the bodies of Charlene Ranstrom and Brenda Warner were found in their apartment.