CONCORD, NH – The trial of the man charged with killing Concord residents Djeswende and Stephen Reid in April 2022 gets underway with jury selection Monday at Merrimack County Superior Court.
Here are 10 things to know if you plan on following the proceedings:
1) Who were Djeswende and Stephen Reid?
Djeswende, 66, and Stephen Reid, 67, had been married for 38 years, and had two children.
They settled in Concord, Steve’s hometown, three years before their deaths after years of public service.
Steve was born in 1955 in Concord, the son of William and Peggy-Ann (Leavitt) Reid. Djeswende, was born in Benin in 1956 to Bila and Poco Pasgo, who were natives of Burkina Faso.
The pair met in Washington, D.C., where Wendy, who’d played on Togo’s women’s basketball team, was attending college on a scholarship.
Steve initially worked in Senegal as an associate Peace Corps director, and later was recruited by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to work with an organization headquartered in Burkina Faso dedicated to addressing climate change and food security in West Africa. He excelled in the field of international development, according to the couples’ joint obituary, and eventually directed USAID-funded projects in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, Senegal and Haiti for Tetra Tech (formerly Associates in Rural Development) and The Mitchell Group.
Wendy worked for the American Embassy in Senegal, and also accompanied Steve on field visits, organizing logistics, translating and copy-editing reports in French and English. In 2003, she earned a bachelor of science in business administration, graduating magna cum laude from Suffolk University’s Dakar, Senegal Campus. She then worked as an admissions counselor for Suffolk, recruiting and supporting the enrollment of students from French-speaking West African countries.
The pair lived in Senegal, Chad and Niger, before returning to the U.S, where Wendy helped new Americans acclimate to the country, her family said.
The pair were known as kind and generous. “Their lifelong contributions to making the world a better place have left an indelible mark on the lives of many people around the world, their children and all who knew them,” their obituary said.
2) Who is Logan Clegg?
Clegg, 27, was born Jan. 24, 1996, in Tempe, Arizona, the son of Levar and Tisha Clegg. When he was 3, the family moved to Colville, Washington, a town of about 4,700 people in the northwest
corner of the state, about an hour north of Spokane. Clegg’s father died by suicide, and Clegg, 12 at the time, was the one who found his body, according to media accounts.
Clegg earned a GED (equivalent of a high school degree). Before his arrest, he had led an itinerant life since his late teens, living in tents in the Spokane area, where he worked at a McDonald’s. Before he arrived in Concord in November 2021, and got a job at the Loudon Road McDonald’s, he’d lived in Europe for several months.
At the time of the Reids’ deaths, police have said, Clegg was living in a tent in the Broken Ground Trail System, in northeast Concord, off Loudon Road.
Clegg stabbed a man, Corey Ward, to death in Spokane, Washington, in 2018, but was not charged. He told police it was self-defense, and they apparently found no evidence to the contrary.
On Nov 9, 2020, Clegg, in Logan, Utah, was sentenced to 36 months’ probation for charges of failing to stop at command of law enforcement (a Class A misdemeanor), theft by receiving stolen property, burglary and theft (all 3rd Degree felonies} after he stole two guns from a sporting goods store. When he didn’t appear for a probation appointment in June 2021, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The warrant ultimately allowed South Burlington, Vt., police to arrest Clegg on Oct. 12, 2022, in that city, as Concord police got the paperwork together to arrest him on charges that he killed the Reids.
3) What is Clegg charged with?
Clegg is charged with two counts of second-degree murder for “knowingly causing the death” of each of the Reids, two alternative second-degree murder charges for “recklessly causing” their deaths, three counts of falsifying physical evidence and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. His indictment on those charges was announced Jan. 19. In May, an additional count of count of falsifying physical evidence (a Class B felony) was added.
4) Where did Clegg allegedly get the gun that police say was used to kill the Reids?
According to the police affidavit, on Feb. 12, 2022, Clegg took a Greyhound bus to Montpelier, Vermont, then made his way to Barre, seven miles away, where he bought a Glock 17 and three boxes of Sig Sauer 9mm ammunition at R&L Archery, a gun and hunting shop.
He allegedly showed a Vermont driver’s license with the name Arthur Kelly, an alias police said that he used on other occasions as well. Police later found that the number on the driver’s license couldn’t be confirmed, which, by law, should’ve meant a hold on the gun sale.
Store owner Chris Sanborn told media outlets after Clegg’s arrest that the person who bought the gun provided an ID that was entered into the FBI’s NCIS system. “If there were any red flags that came up, we wouldn’t have sold him the gun,” Sanborn told the Boston Globe.
5) Why have there been so many motions and hearings in the past six months on this case?
The evidence that led to Clegg’s arrest is complicated, outlined in a 27-page affidavit by the Concord Police Department. Some of the major elements include DNA, ballistics, eyewitness accounts and cellphone data, all of which can be legally difficult to substantiate. Clegg’s defense team has questioned the validity of some of the evidence, as well as police tactics after Clegg was arrested.
Since Clegg’s arrest there have been several hearings in Merrimack County Superior Court to debate evidence, and more than 200 documents are in his court case file.
Clegg asserted his right to a speedy trial, and it was originally scheduled for July, but because of the complex nature of the case, it was moved to October.
6) What is the trial schedule?
Jury selection begins at 9 a.m., Monday, in Merrimack County Superior Court. Judge John Kissinger has ruled there will be 12 jurors and four alternates.
Opening arguments are scheduled for Tuesday morning, with a scene view scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Witness testimony will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The trial is scheduled through Friday, Oct. 20, beginning at 9 a.m. most days. There is no court on Monday, Oct.9, because of the holiday.
7) Why is the trial expected to take so long?
Prosecutors have listed 89 possible witnesses in the case, and the defense has listed 63. As mentioned earlier, the evidence is complex and varied. Potential witnesses include law enforcement, forensic experts, former coworkers of Clegg, officials from places he worked or shopped, and individuals who may have encountered him or the crime scene, among others.
8) Why is it significant that Judge John Kissinger is allowing jurors to take notes?
At a pre-trial hearing Sept. 18, Kissinger said he will allow jurors to take notes because of the complex nature of the case, the number of witnesses expected to be called and the length of time the trial is expected take.
In general in U.S. courts, note-taking by jurors is not allowed most of the time, and is up to the discretion of a judge. Legal experts say the prevailing belief is that jurors can pay better attention if they’re not taking notes, and that their memory will serve them better than notes that may not be complete or accurate.
Kissinger said he will instruct the jurors on notetaking and the notes will be collected and destroyed once a verdict is rendered.
9) Will the trial be live-streamed?
The trial will be available via Webex, which anyone who wants to watch must register for through the Merrimack County Superior Court website. Sequestered trial witnesses were ordered by Kissinger not to watch the trial, either in the courtroom, via Webex, or any other streaming coverage.
10) Who are the attorneys on each side?
Clegg is being represented by public defenders Caroline Smith and Mariana Dominguez. The Office of the Attorney General is represented by Joshue Speicher, Meghan Hagaman and Ryan Olberding. Smith is also representing Adam Montgomery, charged with killing his daughter Harmony. That Hillsborough County Superior Court trial has been moved to February.