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Prosecutor says mother’s recanted confession not admissible in Nashua toddler's death

Union Leader Correspondent

January 30. 2014 9:26PM

NASHUA — While a local mother charged with manslaughter in the alleged beating death of her young son claims she recanted her confession to police, a county prosecutor is arguing the recantation is inadmissible hearsay.

Unique S. Gould, 22, is facing charges of manslaughter, first- and second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child for the April 25, 2013, assault at her Nashua home. She is accused of repeatedly hitting Devon Gould, 2, causing a catastrophic brain injury and subsequent death.

Initially, Gould “admitted that she struck (Devon) numerous times on his buttocks, and confirmed that she also struck him in the head with her hand. Gould made admissions that she ‘blacked out’ at one point, and admitted to hitting (Devon) very hard,” said a police affidavit written by Detective Marc Anderson.

Gould’s defense attorney, Anthony Sculimbrene, previously filed a motion in Hillsborough County Superior Court claiming Gould eventually recanted her confession to police shortly after her arrest.

“After her arraignment in district court, Ms. Gould collapsed in grief. The judge had informed her, in a roundabout way, that her son may die. This was the first time she had heard this information and she was overcome with grief,” wrote Sculimbrene. “On her way back down to the holding cell, Ms. Gould told Officer Michael Welch that she had not injured her son, but was covering up for someone else. She then described a bit of what had really happened, recanting her Mirandized confession.”

Catherine Devine, assistant county attorney, filed a motion earlier this week challenging Gould’s recantation and contending it should not be allowed as evidence by the court.

“The defendant’s ‘recantation’ to the police is thus not an excited utterance. It was not spontaneous, but made after she sat in a jail cell contemplating her fate over the weekend,” wrote Devine. “She was already aware that her child was severely injured by her own hand(s), and upon learning that he might not survive the injuries she inflicted, she sought to exonerate herself by trying to pin the crime on her roommate.”

Devine went on to say that although Gould was given an opportunity to make a formal statement of recantation, she declined, says court records.

According to court documents, Gould is reserving her right to utilize the defense that Devon’s injuries were an accident. Sculimbrene mentioned that if the case goes to trial, evidence may be presented that reveals the boy accidentally hit his head on an end table or other piece of furniture while Gould lawfully disciplined the child, says court records.

Sculimbrene previously described this as a “very sad case.” In a prior statement, he said his client asserts her innocence.Gould, who is currently free on bail, is scheduled to go to trial the week of April 7.

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