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AG won't retry alleged arsonist in 1989 fatal Keene fire

New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster said Thursday he will not retry David McLeod on second-degree murder charges for allegedly setting the 1989 Keene fire that killed a family of four in April, but he preserved the ability to retry him in the future should new evidence and legal avenues develop.

McLeod stood trial in Cheshire County Superior Court on four counts of second-degree murder in December, 2013. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict, and a mistrial was declared. A second trial was set for April, 2014.

In a statement Thursday, Foster said the decision to not retry McLeod at this time was based on an extensive review of witness testimony, trial court rulings and after speaking with jurors.
 
"After considering all those factors, especially the trial court's rulings and the information obtained from the jurors, it became clear to the state that a different outcome after a second trial was highly unlikely," Foster wrote.

McLeod left New Hampshire for California shortly after the fire. Twenty-one years later, his June 30, 2010, arrest was the first made by the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit, which formed in 2009.

McLeod is accused of setting fire to the 89 High St. apartment building killing newlyweds Carl and Lori Hina, their 4-month-old daughter, Lillian Hina; and Sara Hina, Carl's 12-year-old daughter.
Authorities alleged McLeod was depressed over his break-up with his girlfriend, who also lived in the building, and was jealous she dated other men.


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