Ward 9 residents gather to discuss aftermath of nearby murder

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Ross Berry on Sept. 7, 2022. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Ward 9 residents gathered at the Calef Road Fire Station on Wednesday night for a community meeting focused on public safety in the light of murder that occurred last week just a few thousand feet away at Nutts Pond.

That murder, a stabbing believed to have been perpetrated by a homeless man, left residents in attendance concerned and frustrated on prevention of comparable crimes happening in their neighborhood nearby.

One of the primary concerns came from the fact that the suspect had been released on personal recognizance bail, better known as “PR bail.”

The concept of PR bail originally designed to help those accused of minor crimes from being burdened with unobtainable bail payments, leading to them potentially losing jobs or falling into poverty, which could potentially tempt them into more serious criminal behavior. However, in recent years it has instead let those accused of violent crimes back onto the streets without bail, only to commit additional crimes soon afterward.

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig told the audience she has been urging state legislators to reform the PR bail system, as well as talking with the county attorney’s office to provide services for defendants that could help defendants accused of minor crimes in a manner that would meet the original purpose of PR bail.

State Representative Ross Berry (R-Manchester), one of the legislators representing Ward 9, was one of the co-sponsors of one of the bills aiming to reform PR Bail.

Barry told the audience that while that bill had been tabled, he reintroduced it earlier today with modifications incorporating changes from a comparable bill introduced this session in the senate.

He also told the audience that while legislators from Manchester and other urban areas around the state understood the need for reforming the system, legislators from more rural parts of the state did not see the urgency of passing the bill at the time.

“It’s just insane. When I met with the (Manchester Police) Patrolmen’s Association, I told them straight up, ‘I think someone’s going to have to die before Concord wakes up,” he said. “Unfortunately, two months later I was right.”

Berry praised Craig and the city’s Aldermen for their effort lobbying other legislators in Concord.

Members of the Manchester Police Department provided those in attendance details on patrol routes in the area and also urged them to use the See Click Fix app to report suspicious behavior that may require the attention of police or other city services.

One of the community residents in attendance was Laurie Jolis from Riverdale Avenue. Jolis says she has lived at her house for 51 years and plans to do so until her last breath, despite protestations from her daughter to move. While she’s happy that the neighborhood is coming together to discuss its problems in this and the four earlier recent meetings, she’s also more fearful than she once was.

“I think it’s good that the community comes together. We may get the right answers and we may not, but we want to hear it. Nights like this opens our eyes to what’s happening and I think that’s a good idea,” she said. “You cannot blame the police, their hands are tied. They arrest them and since there’s this no bail release, they come right back out and we’re inundated. I don’t know what the answer is.”

Earlier in the meeting, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Director Ted Kitchens also took questions and provided updates on upcoming renovations to Runway 17/35 expected this spring. For a period of time, Runway 6/24, which extends from near Brown Avenue to South Willow Street will take the arrivals and departures normally given to Runway 17/35, although there will be a period when both runways are impacted when the portion of 17/35 that intersects 6/24 is being renovated.

 

About this Author

andrewsylvia

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.