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Indictments doled for alleged social media riot threats

NASHUA – A grand jury has handed up indictments against three of the four local men whose alleged online video referring to an alleged plan to “take back this town (Merrimack)” resulted in riot and criminal threatening charges last fall.

The video, posted through a popular social media app, featured the four men – Kyle Mercer, 24; Nikolas Martin-Blanchette and Erik Hirschfeld, both 19; and Jacob Goulet, 18 – allegedly engaging in gunplay, allegedly threatening to kill people and allegedly announcing their plan to “take back this town.” This is behavior police determined warranted charges being brought against the men.

On Monday, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple issued an order finding Mercer competent to face the charges and, if he desires, to go to trial.

Temple also granted Mercer’s motion for an evidentiary bail hearing, scheduling it for 9 a.m. today in the Nashua court. Mercer, according to his case file, based his motion on the fact he is the only defendant of the four who remains incarcerated.

In the meantime, Goulet and his attorneys crafted a plea agreement with prosecutors that spares him time behind bars, as long as he doesn’t violate any terms of the agreement.

Goulet agreed to enter guilty pleas to one count each of criminal threatening and criminal threatening – terrorize, which were reduced from felonies to Class A misdemeanors as part of the agreement.

He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, all suspended for three years, and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $750 of which is suspended for three years.

Goulet must also take a tour of the State Prison as part of his sentence. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss one count of felony riot against Goulet.

As for the three other defendants, the Hillsborough South grand jury for January handed up three indictments against Mercer, two on the charge of riot and one for criminal threatening.

Hirschfeld was indicted on one count each of riot and criminal threatening, while Martin-Blanchette was indicted on one count each of riot and riot – alternative theory, according to the indictments.

Police said at the time of the men’s arrests that their alleged conduct “recklessly created a substantial risk of causing public alarm … (by) purposely recording threatening crimes of violence verbally and through acts of conduct … while armed with firearms,” according to the indictments.

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