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Defense prepares for possible kidnapping charges in Exeter murder

Union Leader Correspondent

May 13. 2013 1:25PM
Accused murder accomplice Michele Corson speaks with her defense lawyer, Andrew Cotrupi, at a hearing this morning in the 10th Circuit Court, Brentwood District Division. Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent 

BRENTWOOD - The defense lawyer for a woman accused of providing a gun allegedly used by her brother in the murder of his ex-wife is preparing for the possibility of kidnapping charges being filed in the case.

"I'm trying to properly defend her now and put steps in place that if that is what happens we're prepared to deal with it," said Andrew Cotrupi, a Hampton lawyer appointed to represent Michele Corson on charges stemming from her alleged role in the death of Amanda "Amy" Warf.

Corson, 43, of Skowhegan, Maine, appeared in the 10th Circuit Court, Brentwood District Division, this morning on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and accomplice to first-degree murder. Warf's ex-husband, Aaron Desjardins, 36, of Epping, is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing Warf by slitting her throat.

The Hampton woman was found dead on the morning of March 7 inside the abandoned City Concrete plant on Hampton Road in Exeter after firefighters responded to an arson fire on the second floor. No one has yet been charged with setting the fire.

Desjardins' current wife, Sarah, 34, is also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of conspiracy to commit hindering apprehension or prosecution. She is accused of helping her husband plan the murder and sending a text message to Corson asking her to "bring a roasting pan" to her brother. The message, allegedly sent at the request of her husband, was code for gun, according to prosecutors.

Corson allegedly brought the gun to her brother on March 6. Prosecutors have said Aaron Desjardins used the gun to coerce Warf into the concrete building where she was then killed.

The case against Corson is now expected to be sent to a grand jury for possible indictment. Given the allegations in the affidavits, Cotrupi said some "extremely serious charges" could be brought, including kidnapping.

"If it's a kidnapping involving murder it could be a capital murder case," Cotrupi said.

Prosecutors have not said how Warf ended up at City Concrete on the morning of the murder and whether she may have been on her way to work at an Exeter Hospital administrative office building located around the corner from the concrete building.

Desjardins, who confessed to his role in the alleged murder conspiracy, told authorities that his wife and sister were his alibi witnesses, according to prosecutors.

Cotrupi said he plans to hire a private investigator as he builds Corson's defense. Because she is indigent, he filed a motion seeking court funds to the investigator. Judge Mark Weaver approved the motion this morning.

"Given the fact that it's such a serious case, we will almost certainly need a private investigator. The only way to do that is with court approval," Cotrupi said.

Corson, who waived her probable cause hearing this morning, remains held without bail at the Valley Street Jail in Manchester. She has also been ordered to have no contact with her brother, his wife, and the Warf family. Members of Corson's and Desjardins' family attended this morning's court hearing but declined to comment on the case.

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