Nov 6, 2014
Oct 30, 2014
Oct 2, 2014
Sep 25, 2014
Prosecutor: Convicted killer Spader 'chose' to be evil
Prosecutor Jeffery Strelzin, the state's top homocide prosecutor, called convicted killer Steven Spader a "psychopath ... who has no regard for anybody else's life." (FILE PHOTO)
But it wasn't the system, or his parents, that failed Steven Spader and turned him into someone who would murder a woman in her bed with a machete and maim her young daughter, the state's top homicide prosecutor says.
"He's a psychopath," Jeffery Strelzin said of Spader, now 21, who was convicted of killing Kimberly Cates in her Mont Vernon home in 2009 and the attempted murder of her then-11-year-old daughter.
And that's the only explanation for why Spader and his friend Christopher Gribble were able to commit such a horrific crime "and to show no remorse except for the fact that they were caught," Strelzin said.
Last week, a judge granted a request by the New Hampshire Union Leader to unseal court documents in the Spader case, including depositions by his parents, Steven and Christine Spader, who adopted Steven when he was 5 days old.
Asked whether the system failed the Spader family, Strelzin said, "No. Because this is a case of someone who made a conscious decision to go out and randomly attack and kill innocent people.
"So he was well-equipped to make rational and certainly logical and legal decisions. And he chose not to."
He understands the public's need to "give order to disorder," Strelzin said.
"Nobody wants to accept that often the simple answer is that somebody chose to do a terrible thing," he said. "They came from a good family and nobody saw it coming. Because that thought is very uncomfortable."
"And even though you treat them very well and you equip them with what you hope are the right skills they need to make the right decisions, they can still choose not to."
"They don't care about other people, and unfortunately they took great satisfaction in inflicting pain and mayhem on innocent people. It gave them a sense of power and pleasure. That's who they are."
"Yes," Strelzin said at once. It's why the killers chose their victims at random, making it less likely they would be caught, he said. And it's why, while they disposed of their bloody clothing in a river after the murder, they buried their weapons "so they could use them again."
There were echoes in the Mont Vernon case of another horrific crime committed by a pair of teenage boys: the murder of Dartmouth College professors Half and Susanne Zantop in 2001.
"Similar weapons were used, cutting instruments. ... Knives in the Hanover case, and here (in Mont Vernon), you had a knife and a machete."
His impression of Spader? "He's just bad right to the core."
Geraghty said it was in part the randomness of the crime that shook so many across the state.
"People went and got dogs. People went and got guns. People put bars on their windows. It just struck home."
Each year, David Cates holds a golf tournament on the anniversary of the attack, for a scholarship in his wife's name. "To take back the date," Geraghty said.
To this day, Strelzin keeps a photo of Kim, David and Jaimie Cates on his desk. It's a measure of how deeply this case touched him.
As a prosecutor, he said, "you can never make it right in a murder case, because the victim's gone forever and there's nothing you can do.''
For the families of murder victims, he said, the case will never really be over. "Because every birthday, every holiday, every significant event, is just a reminder that your ... loved ones are gone.
"That's not something everyday life equips you to deal with," he said. "And when you meet these families, you see what the lasting effects are."
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Judge OKs early release for former teacher convicted of possessing child porn - 0
- Nashua man indicted for allegedly shooting girlfriend - 0
- Manchester 7-Eleven robbed for fourth time - 0
- Manchester couple faces robbery, theft charges after Salem mall incident - 0
- Chainsaw-wielding man facing multiple charges over Sept. incident - 0
- Woman faces assault charge after Monopoly game gets out of hand - 14
- Plea deal gives shooter 15-30 years in 2012 death of Manchester man - 0
- Missouri governor urges calm ahead of grand jury decision on shooting; findings to be announced at 9 p.m. - 0
- Two Manchester brothers indicted in Nashua drive-by shooting - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: It took a while, but now they're on Wright track - 0
- Newmarket blacksmith has forged a career shaping the elementsof steel - 0
- Kathy Sullivan: We need to rethink some of our county government positions - 0
- Pipes and plans: A chance to show up Mass. - 0
- H.S. Football Power Poll: No doubt - Astros finish on top - 0
- College Hockey: Wildcats home to RPI on Tuesday night - 0
- Manchester school board OK's contract for driver’s ed program - 0
- Unrest erupts after grand jury decides against charges in Ferguson, Mo., shooting - 0
- Malkin, Crosby foil Bruins in overtime - 0
Clinton has 'historic' lead in poll
Sources say former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card to be tapped as Franklin Pierce president
Randy Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz lead HOF ballot
Tough task for NH budget writers
Pipes and plans: A chance to show up Mass.
Teacher 'thrilled' at being reinstated
Paul, Christie share lead in primary poll
NH senators react to Hagel resignation
- Whom do you think bears the brunt of the blame for the mayhem this weekend in Keene?
- KSC students
- KSC administration
- Visitors from out of town
- A combination of any/all of the above
- Total Votes: 2483