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Tappan murder trial slated for June 2020

By Dean Shalhoup | Oct 10, 2019

NASHUA – Unless a plea agreement is reached or an unexpected development arises in his second-degree murder case, city resident Devin Tappan will not go to trial in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South until June.

In the meantime, his attorney, Paul Borchardt, has filed a notice informing prosecutors and the court that Tappan may rely on an insanity defense at trial, which is now scheduled to begin sometime in mid-to-late June in the Nashua court.

According to a timeline prosecutors submitted to the court recently, jury selection is set to begin on June 15 with the trial itself to start the following day.

However, a scheduling order issued by the court states the trial will begin “two weeks following jury selection,” which could mean anywhere from June 16 to June 30.

Either way, the state’s timeline proposes roughly 20 filing deadlines or hearing dates between now and the scheduled June 15 jury selection.

Tappan, who turns 33 later this month, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the bludgeoning death 45-year-old Javier Rivera Afanador, whose body police discovered while conducting a well-being check at a Kinsley Street residence on Jan. 6, 2017.

One count accuses Tappan of “recklessly” causing Afanador’s death, while the other alleges he “knowingly” killed Afanador.

Tappan at the time lived at 32 Kinsley St., Apt. 1. Afanador was believed to be either Tappan’s roommate or his neighbor in the large, multiple-unit residence that, years ago, was the home of the former Maurice L. Bouchard Funeral Home.

In June, Borchardt, filed a notice of self-defense with the court, indicating his client may rely on “the defense of self-defense” at trial.

The file doesn’t indicate whether that notice is still pending, or was replaced by the newer notice of insanity defense.

Other dates established in the timeline prosecutors filed with the court include a Jan. 31 deadline for the sides to depose experts or lay witnesses; a deadline of Feb. 14 for the defense to disclose expert testimony reports regarding the insanity defense, and a deadline of March 20 for the state to do the same.

May 29 is the last day Tappan can take a plea deal, and is also the date of the final pre-trial conference, according to the timeline.

The second-degree murder case is one of three cases currently pending against Tappan.

The other two each contain two counts of robbery. One of them accuses him of robbing two retail stores on Oct. 24 and Nov. 28, 2016, while the other stems from armed robbery allegations in Hudson on Nov. 21 and Nov. 30, 2016.

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

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