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Friend says killing 'makes no sense'

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 02. 2013 8:58PM
John Hogarty, 53, of Manchester, was arraigned in District Court Thursday for first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Michelle Hogarty. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - An automobile mechanic described by neighbors as a devoted father to his 6-year-old son is being held without bail in the stabbing death of his wife, who in a post three years ago on Facebook described him as a "wonderful husband."

John Hogarty, 53, of 316 Mammoth Road, said only two words - both "yes" to Judge Gregory Michael's questions regarding his request for a court-appointed attorney - at his arraignment on first-degree murder Thursday morning in 9th Circuit Court, Manchester District Division. He is being held without bail.

He is accused of stabbing his wife, Michelle, 46, to death in the couple's duplex at 316 Mammoth Road. Police said they went to the home after receiving a 911 "call for service" at 4:54 a.m. Wednesday and discovered Mrs. Hogarty's body. Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan G. Morrell would not say who called 911.

Michelle was a fun woman who loved the beaches and mountains of New Hampshire and rocked out to Stevie Nicks, said Jean Beauchesne, who said she'd been friends with Michelle for 14 years.

"I don't understand this," Beauchesne said. "This just makes no sense to me."

Beauchesne said she last spoke to Michelle the day before the murder. It was Beauchesne's birthday, and she called Michelle to thank her for a birthday card she'd received.

"We talked about going out to dinner," she said.

Beauchesne, trying to hold back tears, said Thursday evening that her "best friend" liked watching funny movies and "a good tear-jerker" and would frequently show up at Beauchesne's office.

"I'd look up and there she'd be with this big smile," she said. "I loved her dearly. I just hope I'm finding the right words to describe how wonderful she was."

Beauchesne said Michelle had struggled recently with battles against throat cancer and fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic body-wide pain.

"She didn't really talk about it much," Beauchesne said.

Nina Cullen, owner of Nini Bambini, a business that provides support groups, play groups and classes for new families, said Michelle and her son, Ryan, visited for about two years after he was born. But her husband was extremely controlling and wouldn't let her do much, Cullen said in a telephone interview.

"She was an incredibly sweet woman and a loving, caring mother. She just lived for that kid," she said.

Morrell said the 6-year-old is being cared for by relatives. She would not say if the child witnessed his mother's murder.

Mrs. Hogarty was not working at the time of her death, but about three years ago had worked as a part-time cashier at Hannaford Supermarket on Hanover Street, not far from where she lived. John Hogarty worked as a mechanic for Subaru of Milford, according to Morrell.

Hogarty, on her Facebook page, said she was from Salem and a graduate of Salem High School, Class of 1985.

"I'm a sports loving girl with a son, whose name is Ryan. He is a handful, but I couldn't imagine life without him in it. Unfortunately, a lot has gone on in my life lately and I'm just trying to soak it up and take it all in. I myself, feel like a handful at times. Anything else, just ask!!" was an undated post seen in the "about" section on her Facebook page Thursday morning.

By the afternoon, however, the post was replaced with one from three years ago which said: "I am a 43 year old mother of one. He is 3 and giving me a run for my money. I am a stay at home Mom, not to exciting life. My days are spent running after my little man and watching Nickelodeon, gotta love it. I have a wonderful husband and two cats."

Search and arrest warrants were sealed in the case, although public defender John Newman requested the court unseal them, saying the defense needed the information to prepare for a probable cause hearing set for May 14. Judge Michael took the matter under advisement.;

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