Newport man who fears COVID-19 seeks release from jail so he can use medical marijuana for bum hip

Tim Hale is serving 6-months for reckless conduct after wounding 2-year-old upstairs neighbor in accidental shooting.

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NEWPORT, NH — A Newport man convicted of accidentally shooting and wounding a 2-year-old neighbor while he was intoxicated, wants out of jail so that he can use medical marijuana.

Timothy Hale, 51, was sentenced to six months of jail time in January after pleading guilty to one count of felony reckless conduct for the shooting in April 2019 that left the little girl wounded in her leg while she slept in the upstairs apartment.

Now Hale wants to serve the rest of his sentence on home confinement so that he can treat a bad hip with medical marijuana and CDB ointment, according to court records. He also claims that his poor health leaves him susceptible to a COVID-19 infection.

Timothy Hale/Newport PD

Hale is 100 percent disabled and suffers pain after one hip replacement and he’s in need of another surgery, according to his attorney Mark Sisti. Hale is serving his sentence at the Sullivan County House of Corrections in Unity, and jail staff won’t let him use marijuana and CBD ointment for his pain, Sisti said in a motion for release.

“The Department of Corrections is unable or unwilling to treat Mr. Hale with appropriate pain management medication, due to their jail policy,” Sisti wrote.

Deputy County Attorney Justin Hersh argues that Hale is already getting appropriate medical treatment in the jail without the marijuana products.

“The defendant’s pain management issue, in part, appears to be a reflection of his interest in a particular course of treatment – the use of marijuana and the use of CBD ointment, rather than a blanket inability to receive appropriate medical care while at the Sullivan County House of Corrections,” Hersh argued in his motion opposing the release.

Hersh contends there is no specific concern for Hale when it comes to a possible COVID-19 infection. Hale is due to be released by the end of May, and he will then be serving a suspended sentence two years for the shooting.

Hale’s motion is now pending a ruling from Sullivan Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker.

The shooting happened around 11:30 p.m. on the night of April 14, 2019, as Cynthia Belrose and John Martioski were in bed, and their two-year-old daughter was asleep in her bedroom, according to court records. Belrose and Martioski told police that they heard a loud bang and rushed into their child’s room, to find her bleeding and crying, according to court records. Hale, reportedly shirtless and agitated, went to their door right after the shooting to apologize, saying it was an accident, according to court records.

Police got to Laurel Street to find Belrose outside, crying and holding her bleeding child. The girl suffered a gash in her leg from the shotgun blast and was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon for treatment.

Hale told police he had a six-pack of beer that day before going to sleep. Hale woke up thinking there was someone in the apartment, so he grabbed one of his many shotguns, this one a 12-gauge, loaded it with birdshot, and fired it off, according to police. The birdshot went through the ceiling and struck the child.

While police did not find any intruder, they did find numerous empty beer cans, as well as loaded and unloaded shotguns and ammunition placed through the apartment, according to the court records. Hale also had a loaded .45 caliber pistol underneath the pillows on his bed, according to the court record.


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Damien Fisher

Damien Fisher is a freelance reporter and runs