Preventative detention ordered for suspect with lengthy history

Photo by NASHUA POLICE John Rundlett, age 55, of No Fixed Address, Nashua

NASHUA – John Rundlett, a 55-year-old man with no fixed address whose criminal record, according to a prosecutor, currently lists some 77 convictions in two states, was about to be arrested on theft warrants earlier this week when police encountered a woman “crying frantically” because Rundlett allegedly just assaulted her.

Rundlett by then had fled the Crown Hill residence where the alleged assault occurred, and police issued a warrant for his arrest.

That brought to three the number of active arrest warrants out for Rundlett; he was also wanted on alleged thefts from two stores in October and December, according to police and court documents.

Police served all three when they located Rundlett shortly after the alleged assault, landing him in jail until Tuesday – when he ended up in the unusual position of facing two arraignments in different courts on the same day.

The first arraignment involved the three Class A misdemeanor charges stemming from the alleged domestic assaults, and was held in Nashua district court via video conference from Valley Street jail.

Rundlett entered not guilty pleas to the charges, which include two counts of domestic violence – simple assault and one count of domestic violence – false imprisonment.

They accuse him of striking the woman in the face during an argument, causing a bloody nose, pulling her to the ground by the neck and grabbing her and pulling her back into the residence as she tried to escape, according to police.

They said she sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital, where she was treated and released.

A Nashua police prosecutor recommended Rundlett be held on preventive detention, which Judge Erin McIntyre, who recently came to Nashua district court from the Keene area, granted.

McIntyre scheduled a bail hearing for Wednesday for Rundlett, who had applied for a court-appointed lawyer.

Roughly three hours later, Rundlett was back in the Nashua courthouse, this time in person in a Hillsborough County Superior Court South courtroom.

There, before Judge Charles Temple, Rundlett was arraigned on two counts of theft, one a Class A felony and the other a Class B felony, which was upgraded from a Class A misdemeanor due to Rundlett’s numerous previous convictions for theft, according to police.

The Class A felony charge accuses Rundlett of stealing numerous electronic items from a Nashua Target store over the course of several days in December, police said, adding that the value of the items exceeds $1,500.

The other charge stems from allegations Rundlett stole five 25-ounce cans of beer from a Nashua Walgreen’s store on Oct. 19, police said.

Assistant County Attorney Brett Harpster requested Rundlett be held on preventive detention, that he sign a waiver of extradition and have no contact with the Target and Walgreen’s stores.

“Mr. Rundlett has a very signifiant criminal history” that includes 77 previous convictions for a variety of offenses, Harpster told the court. The ones he read aloud include assaults, breaking and entering, forgery, habitual offender, third-offense drunk driving, criminal trespassing, possession of controlled drugs with intent to sell, bail jumping, stalking, credit card fraud and issuing bad checks.

The convictions are split between New Hampshire (35) and Massachusetts (42), Harpster said.

Attorney Donald Donadio, a public defender who represented Rundlett at the arraignment, asked Temple for personal recognizance bail, referring to Rundlett’s lengthy criminal history as “the record of a drug user.”

Rundlett very much wants help, and wants to participate in treatment, “which he desperately needs,” Donadio said, noting that Rundlett is currently on the waiting list to enter the Nashua Adult Drug Court program.

Rundlett also suffers from physical ailments, Donadio said, and lives on disability benefits.

Temple ruled in favor of preventive detention, citing Rundlett’s lengthy record as well as his longtime substance use issues.

He did say he’d consider personal recognizance bail if Rundlett enters a substance use treatment program.

“It looks like you’ve got a lifelong struggle here,” Temple told Rundlett, adding that he hopes he succeeds in getting the treatment he needs.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.