The New Hampshire Supreme Court has accepted an appeal by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office in the case against David McLeod. Prosecutors have until June 15 to file a brief as posted by the Sentinel Source.
McLeod is accused of setting fire to a multi-unit apartment building in the early morning hours of January 14, 1989, that claimed the lives of the Hina family. The medical examiner later ruled they died of smoke inhalation.
Following pre-trial hearings last summer, Sullivan County Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling ruled that testimony by the state’s fire expert who determined the blaze was caused by arson would not be permitted at trial, because he based his findings on statements of a witness who died in 2005.
That witness was Sandra Walker, whose second-floor apartment fire officials pinpointed as the place where the deadly blaze started. McLeod’s attorneys had argued that because the witness could not be called to testify at trial, McLeod’s constitutional right to confront a witness would be violated.
After prosecutors file a brief with the Supreme Court, attorneys for McLeod have 60 days to file a response. Oral arguments in the appeal have not been scheduled.
The Hina Family was killed during a 1989 fatal fire at a Keene apartment complex, New Hampshire. David McLeod was held without bond since his 2010 arrest for this crime. A mistrial was declared on Dec 19, 2013. A retrial was scheduled for April 14, 2014. In Jan 2014, the prosecution decided against a retrial. McLeod is free but can be retried if new evidence or legal avenues develop. The case hinges on forensic arson detection.
To be continued!