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43 killers on lifetime parole - but where?
Kenneth Gagnon, whose father, Maurice Gagnon, was murdered in Nashua in 1959, believes the addresses and general parole information of killers on lifetime parole should be public in order to hold the state accountable for their supervision. Similar information is generally released in Maine, along with the convict's photograph.
It would be very uncomfortable to run into Martineau at the store, Gagnon said, even after all these years.
"They never did anything," Gagnon said. "They should have revoked his parole and never did."
Unlike a registered sex offender whose name, picture, crime and address are posted on the Department of Safety website even after completing parole, similar information about murderers - and all other criminals on parole - is confidential in New Hampshire, according to Assistant Attorney General Lynmarie Cusack.
Or Frank Dow, now 55, who was convicted of second-degree murder in 1983 for beating 18-year-old Mary Sue DeLong to death and stuffing leaves in her mouth in Manchester. The girl's grandmother, Ruth DeLong, said years ago that Dow should "be locked up forever," according to New Hampshire Union Leader news reports.
Some on the list were incarcerated before the "truth-in-sentencing'' law was enacted in 1983 mandating inmates serve their minimum sentences with no "good time" reduction, according to Parole Board Chairman Donna Sytek, the architect of the law.
Since truth-in-sentencing, anyone convicted of first-degree murder would have to serve life in prison with no chance for parole. But accused murderers can still be charged with, or plea bargain to, lesser crimes and receive sentences that could eventually lead to parole.
"It would require a change in the law or administrative rules," Sytek said.
From a public safety perspective, murderers are less likely to re-offend than sex offenders, she said.
An often-cited 2002 Bureau of Justice Statistics report said of 272,000 prisoners released in 15 states in 1994, robbers, burglars and those arrested for drug crimes all had higher than 70 percent re-arrest rates in the following three years, while only 2.5 percent of the released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2 percent of those who had served time for homicide were re-arrested for homicide during that time.
Sandra Matheson, director of the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office of Victim/Witness Assistance, said victims are not privy to a parolee's address, but before parole is granted, they have wide latitude to request the perpetrator not live near them.
Victims are also notified of changes in a prisoner's status if they request such notification, she said.
Kenneth Gagnon said he was never told he could ask to be notified relative to changes in custody of Martineau, his father's killer. Gagnon has since made the call to ask to be told.
Nelson and Martineau kidnapped Maurice Gagnon, then a wealthy Rhode Island manufacturer, took him to Nashua in his expensive Cadillac and killed him because he was going to testify against them the following day for burglarizing his house.
"It was hard," said Gagnon.
He took over his father's business, Magco Plastics, and made his own mark, too, inventing the Quack Decoy duck.
"Life goes on and you hunker down and do the right thing and try to get through this life as best you can."
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