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Convicted killer Breest will stay in prison until sex offender evaluation

CONCORD - Convicted murderer Robert Breest, imprisoned for more than 40 years in the murder of an 18-year-old Manchester woman whose partially nude body was found on a frozen Merrimack River in the Capital City, will remain jailed at least until he submits to a sexual offender evaluation.

Breest, 75, who is being held at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Shirley, Mass., did not attend the three-minute parole hearing held Thursday at the state Adult Parole Board at the New Hampshire State Prison.

Instead, he talked with the board by telephone from the Bay State prison. Board member Jeffrey M. Brown asked him if he wanted to proceed with the hearing or just go forward on his motion for a new trial.

Last month, Breest filed the lengthy motion in Merrimack County Superior Court saying the latest round of DNA testing from blood found under the fingernails of murder victim Susan Randall determined it was from three people: Randall, an unknown man and maybe Breest or dozens of other men. Defense attorneys say Breest should get a new trial because of the new DNA evidence and, when coupled with the alleged false testimony of a jailhouse snitch and "junk science" used by state criminologists to connect paint chips from Breest's car to Randall's coat, would have resulted in a not guilt verdict.

Breest said he did not know he had an option when it came to the parole hearing and was told to be there "so here I am."

Breest was paroled in 1995 but, because he refuses to admit he killed Randall or complete a sex offender treatment program, he remains in prison.

Brown said given the nature of his offense, the board could not consider his parole until he underwent a sexual offender evaluation.

Breest, the only person ever convicted of a "psychosexual" murder, has maintained his innocence in the beating death of Randall in 1971.

He has filed numerous appeals over the years and in April filed a motion in Merrimack County Superior Court seeking a new trial based on the results of the latest DNA testing of blood found under Randall's fingernails.

Prosecutors said the last results matched Breest's DNA beyond a reasonable doubt.

But Breest's attorneys, which include Albert E. Scherr of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and New York City attorneys Ian M. Dumain, Joshua A. Goldberg, Alicia A. Tallbe and Frank A. Cavanagh, say the latest DNA test, using more advanced technology, shows the DNA is from three individuals and Breest isn't necessarily one of them.

They argue the new evidence contradicts the state's theory of the case - that Breest acted alone - and the testimony of a jailhouse snitch, who said Breest confessed to him that he killed Randall.

Prosecutors at trial maintained Breest acted alone on the night of Feb. 28, 1971 when he picked up a hitchhiking Randall in Granite Square in Manchester, killed her and tossed her body off a bridge in Concord. She was naked from the waist down.

Breest also is a suspect in the 1969 murder of his girlfriend Luella Blakeslee, a 29-year-old teacher whose remains were found in 1998 buried in Hopkinton. Breest has denied he killed her and has never been charged in her death.

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