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Dalton man returns to jail, this time for gun threats

Special to the Union Leader

March 17. 2014 7:35PM


LANCASTER — The lone survivor of a 2012 multiple shooting in Dalton has begun a term in the New Hampshire State Prison for using a shotgun to threaten a man last year, also in Dalton.

Wayne S. Ainsworth, 56, who has a long criminal record, is back in state prison for two to four years for criminal threatening last April.

Police said in the course of trying to get money from Roger Wood, Ainsworth pointed the shotgun at Wood, then fired it near him.

Ainsworth was indicted on three charges. Following months of negotiations with the Coos County Attorney’s Office, he recently finalized a plea agreement in the case.

Ainsworth pleaded guilty to one count of criminal threatening. Coos County Superior Court Judge Peter H. Bornstein sentenced him to two to four years on that charge, and 3½ to seven years — all suspended for five years after his release from prison — for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The judge also dismissed a related count of reckless conduct against Ainsworth, who could have received a much longer prison term if convicted at trial on the three counts, all of which are Class B felonies. Bornstein gave him credit for 136 days of pre-sentence confinement following his April 26, 2013, arrest.

Ainsworth previously spent years in state prison following a Strafford County conviction for aggravated felonious sexual assault.

A year before his most recent arrest, on April 11, 2012, police from all points, including the New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit, sped to Ainsworth’s address in the small rural town of Dalton just north of Littleton.

There they found the bodies of Ainsworth’s spouse, Joseph E. Besk, 48, who lived at the Whitefield Road home with Ainsworth, and Christopher Smith, 45, both of whom had been shot to death.

Police found Ainsworth seriously wounded from gunshots. He was taken to Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster before being flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, where he recovered.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office would release little information on the shootings and refused to confirm the details of Ainsworth’s treatment.

Investigators did say they believed Smith shot Ainsworth and Besk, then turned the gun on himself, but they would not discuss the motive.

State medical examiners concluded that Besk had been shot in the chest and neck; Smith had been shot in the head.

Like Ainsworth, Besk was a sex offender; he was convicted in Hillsborough County.

Corrections officials said the two were cellmates for a time who took advantage of the June 2009 change in New Hampshire law that allowed same-sex couples to marry.

They were wed in a ceremony at the state prison that took place after Ainsworth had completed his term of about 12 years. But Besk remained incarcerated for about two more years after the wedding, according to prison officials, who said Besk was an inmate from 1993 to late 2011.

Crime, law and justice Dalton

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