Judge rules accused Valley Cemetery rapist incompetent; charges dropped

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Hillsborough County Courthouse North

MANCHESTER, NH – A man accused of a brutal, hours-long rape of a woman a year ago in Valley Cemetery is incompetent to stand trial, a judge has ruled in dismissing the charges against him.

Amuri Diole, 28, who is detained in the Valley Street jail, is “clearly dangerous and in need of consistent and structured long-term mental health treatment,” Judge Diane M. Nicolosi, presiding in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District, said in her July 1 order.  She ordered him detained for 90 days, as allowed by law, giving the state the time to have him involuntarily committed to the New Hampshire State Hospital.

This is the second time that Diole has been found incompetent to stand trial with all charges dismissed.

In 2018, Diole was accused of beating a Merrimack man.  On Feb. 24, 2020, Judge Charles Temple, presiding in Hillsborough County Superior Court Southern District, found him incompetent to stand trial, but said his competency was likely restorable in a year.

However, that didn’t happen and on Jan. 27, 2021, he issued an Order on Dangerousness, detaining Diole for 90 days, again to allow the state to move to have him involuntarily committed.

When the state failed to do that, he was released from jail and two days later, he allegedly attacked the woman.  

At the time, Diole was homeless and living at Valley Cemetery, located directly across from the jail.

Shawn Sweeney, First Assistant to Hillsborough County Attorney John Coughlin, said prosecutors will make sure this time that Diole is involuntarily committed.  That proceeding takes place in Probate Court and is not open to the public because of private medical issues.

Nicolosi, in her 11-page order, said Diole’s circumstances have not changed since “the issue of dangerousness was last addressed by Judge Temple a year and a half ago.  In fact, the likelihood of serious bodily injury that Judge Temple identified likely came to fruition given the pending charges as a result of the defendant’s lack of capacity to care for himself by seeking treatment and complying with treatment recommendations,” she wrote.

The judge’s ruling was the result of hearings concerning Diole’s competency.  James Bomersbach, Ph.D., in testifying for the state, found him competent to stand trial.  The defense retained Mathilde Pelaprat, Psy.D., who said Diole is not competent to stand trial.  Both had previously testified in the Merrimack case, presenting the same opinions.

In the Merrimack case, Pelaprat, following a two-hour interview with Diole on Nov. 25, 2020, and a review of his medical records from 2013 to October 2020 (which the judge said indicated Diole had been on behavioral watch throughout his jail stay, but had received no psychiatric medication or “any therapeutic intervention over the prior year”), said he had not been restored to competency.

 On Jan. 27, 2021, Judge Temple found he had not been restored to a state of competency and dismissed the charges.

According to court records, Diole attacked the woman in the cemetery on April 29, 2021, two days after Diole was released from the jail.  She briefly escaped her assailant and called police on her cell phone just before 5 p.m. to say she was being raped at the cemetery.  

Police found her behind the mausoleum wearing only a sweatshirt.  Her hands and legs were bloodied and she was wet.

She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where she told an officer Diole raped her for two hours and slammed her head against a granite pillar, knocking her out.

After an undetermined amount of time she tried to escape and began to run.  Diole caught her, put a knife to the back of her neck and forced her to perform oral sex, according to court records. When she began screaming for help, after calling police, he raped her again, held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.

The Merrimack incident happened on Nov. 19, 2018.  According to court documents, Diole allegedly beat John Brent who had hired him and another man to help move items. Displeased with the two men’s performance, Brent took them aside and explained what he expected.  Neither man was receptive to the criticism and Diole accused Brent of being a racist and picking on him because he was Black.

Brent fired them but both men kept trying to return to the house.  Brent began recording them from his cell phone and Diole knocked the phone out of his hand.  When Brent went to pick it up, Diole jumped on top of him and started punching him, according to court records.   Brent tried to defend himself, but Diole knocked him to the ground and kept punching him.  Eventually, residents came outside and tried to stop the fight.  Once they were separated, Diole picked up Brent’s cell phone and erased the video he had recorded.

Brent suffered a broken nose, black eyes, a mild concussion and blood clots in his right eye.

In Judge Temple’s Feb. 20, 2020, order finding him incompetent, he said Diole was born in Congo and moved to the United States at the age of 10.  He lived with his parents in Manchester until age 15 when he left home, claiming he was tired of his father’s abusive behavior.  He went into the custody of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families and was placed in foster and group homes.  He attended Concord High School through the 11th grade.

As an adult, Diole primarily lived in Manchester but was homeless for most of his adult life.  He has not worked regularly, has used marijuana since age 15, consumed alcohol since age 17, and abused heroin to an unknown extent.

Since October 2012, he has been hospitalized three times for mental health issues and has undergone several mental health evaluations.

In the Merrimack case, Pelaprat diagnosed Diole with schizophrenia and needing immediate treatment.   

In a footnote, the judge wrote that from the evaluations it appears as though each doctor interviewed a different person. “This aligns with Dr. Pelaprat’s testimony that individuals with a psychiatric disorder can show variability in presentation and intensity of their symptoms.  It may also demonstrate that the defendant’s condition has deteriorated while he is in jail.”

In the rape case, Dr. Bomersbach did not establish a good rapport with Diole.  The judge said Diole was agitated, suspicious and accusatory at times.  Bomersbach interpreted Diole’s talking to himself as aggression and intentional conduct to intimidate him into not asking more probing questions, rather than the product of psychosis.

He testified that Diole’s behavior was not consistent with schizophrenia or any “primary psychotic disorder.”  He said his hostile behavior was purposeful with clear and goal-oriented thinking.  Bomersbach “opined that the instances of bizarre behavior and hallucinations are explainable as being secondary to substance intoxication or withdrawal rather than a ‘standalone’ schizophrenia diagnosis,” Nicolosi wrote.

Pelaprat, who interviewed Diole for nine hours and reviewed the same records as Bomersbach, described him as being incoherent at times and characterized him as having an impairment in rational thinking and abstract reasoning, lacking insight into his chronic mental issues, and having been without long-term treatment that should be delivered in a restricted setting due to his instability in the community born of significant trauma, chronic homelessness and unemployment, lack of family and social supports, and substance abuse.  She concluded he likely suffers from a psychotic disorder and is not competent.


 

 

 

 

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pat-grossmith

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.