2 years later, Nashua pair charged in 1988 murders still have not been extradited to U.S.
By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON Union Leader Correspondent
NASHUA — More than two years after two former Nashua men were charged with the brutal 1988 murders of two city women, the accused men still have not been extradited to New Hampshire to face trial.
Although the Quebec Court of Appeal previously ordered that David Caplin, 51, be returned to the Granite State to face two counts of first-degree murder, Caplin is now taking his appeal to a higher court, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
“He is attempting to appeal (the extradition) to the Canadian Supreme Court,” Janice Rundles, Senior Assistant Attorney General, said Monday.
Caplin has remained in a Canadian prison since his arrest more than two years ago. Caplin’s alleged accomplice, Anthony Barnaby, 45, was recently released from custody after the same Quebec Court of Appeal ordered that he will not be extradited back to New Hampshire because he previously stood trial for the murders on three separate occasions, according to the court’s ruling, which also stated that new DNA evidence did not directly link Barnaby to the crime scene.
Rundles, however, said Monday that Barnaby’s court order is still under review in Canada.
“Canadian prosecutors are considering whether to appeal,” she said of the ruling on Barnaby’s extradition.
Police arrested the two men — both Micmac Indians who grew up together on the Restigouche Reservation in the Canadian Province of Quebec — more than two years ago for the 1988 murders of same-sex couple Brenda Warner and Charlene Ranstrom who lived together at 7 Mason St.
Cold case detectives brought forth the charges in April 2011 after forensic testing that was not previously available was performed on evidence more than 22-years old.
After the case was reopened, several hair samples and a bloodied sock were submitted for new DNA testing, and two years ago, the New Hampshire State Police forensic laboratory determined Caplin’s hair was found at the crime scene where the two women were found beaten and stabbed to death, according to authorities.
Investigators said previously that modern forensic DNA testing and testimony from new witnesses in the 1988 murders enabled cold case detectives to bring forth first-degree murder charges against the men.
However, court proceedings in the United States are stalled. State prosecutors have been working with the U.S. Department of Justice and Canadian law enforcement officials to proceed with the new murder charges.
“It is an old case. It is a cold case,” said Rundles, explaining the international extradition process is fairly complicated and can often be lengthy. “Obviously, we don’t like delays.”
Still, Rundles said she is hopeful both men will eventually be extradited to New Hampshire to face trial for the two brutal murders.
“We really don’t know how much longer that will be though,” she said.
Both men, Barnaby and Caplin, were suspects in the double homicide. Barnaby was tried three times on murder charges against the two Nashua women, but the highly publicized trials all ended in mistrials when the juries could not reach unanimous verdicts.
His co-defendant, Caplin, had previous murder charges dropped after a Superior Court judge ruled physical evidence against Caplin and statements he made at a court hearing could not be used against him. The lower court ruling was upheld by the state Supreme Court, and without that evidence, the state at the time had only a circumstantial case against Caplin and subsequently the charges were dropped. His case never went to trial.