Judge closes hearing for man charged with stabbing 3 officers in 2020, citing discussion of mental health records

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Akwasi Owusu

MANCHESTER, NH — A Superior Court judge closed a hearing Tuesday afternoon concerning the mental health evaluation conducted of a 19-year-old city man accused of stabbing three Manchester police officers last year during a domestic call.

Akwasi Owusu of 6 Ahern St. is charged with three counts of first-degree assault in the Feb. 4, 2020 incident at his address. Owasu appeared during the hearing via video from the New Hampshire Hospital.

Judge David Anderson, presiding in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District, granted the request of Public Defender Brian Civale who noted that a member of the press had logged on to the Webex hearing. 

The judge noted that the evidentiary hearing concerned the evaluation done of Owusu’s mental health.

He said the three police officers, who also were logged onto the hearing, would be allowed to stay but said they could not discuss what was presented.

As of Wednesday, there was no court order concerning the hearing.

Owusu is accused of stabbing officers Brendan Langton, 26, Olivia LaCroix, 26, and Kevin Shields, 32.   If convicted on the felony charges, Owusu faces an extended sentence of 10 to 20 years per count in the New Hampshire State Prison.  He has pleaded not guilty.

According to court documents, Langton and LaCroix both suffered puncture wounds to the right sides, resulting in collapsed lungs and requiring hospitalization.

Shields sustained a one-inch laceration to the forehead which required three stitches to close.

According to the prosecutor, the knife went through the officers’ uniforms and protective vests, indicative of the amount of force Owusu allegedly used.

The incident happened about 3:20 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2020, when officers went to Owusu’s home on a domestic call.  Two days earlier, Owusu allegedly choked his older sister. 

As police were heading to the scene, dispatch was told Owusu was attacking his older brother who had arrived at the residence and that Owusu was trying to vandalize his vehicle. 

When they arrived, officers found Owusu in a bedroom lying on a mattress.  He refused to comply with an officer’s order to show his hands and police used a Taser on him after he became “aggressive” when they tried to arrest him, according to court records.

As they struggled with him, Shields saw Owusu had a knife in his hand.  Owusu swung it around, injuring all three officers, police said.

At a bail hearing last year, Public Defender Jillian Rizzo asked that Owusu be referred for a mental health evaluation at the Elliot Hospital and, if warranted, be committed to the New Hampshire State Hospital or some other facility for treatment.