Former Manchester teacher convicted on one charge in drug trial
MANCHESTER — A Hillsborough County Superior Court North jury took less than three hours Thursday to reach verdicts in the trial of former Manchester school teacher Lisa Tagalakis.
After a two-day trial, in which Tagalakis was the only defense witness, the jury found the 43-year-old former art teacher at Manchester High School Central guilty of a common nuisance charge.
The class B felony charge alleged she knowingly allowed her home at 151 Sagamore St. to be used for the illegal keeping or selling of controlled drugs. It is punishable by a sentence of 3½ to seven years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
A sentencing date for Tagalakis was not set immediately, because a pre-sentence investigation will be held first.
Jurors found Tagalakis innocent of a felony charge of conspiracy to sell drugs. She was accused of taking $100 a week in rent from ex-convict Robert Doane, who was selling drugs, primarily heroin, out of her home at 151 Sagamore St. in January and February 2013.
Doane was convicted in March of drug sales and sentenced to 10 to 40 years in prison.
Tagalakis, now divorced and no longer using her married name, Fedor, was living at the Sagamore Street house with her 4-year-old twin boys and her 22-year-old boyfriend, Kristopher White, when White asked if his friend, Doane, could rent a room there.
Defense attorney Joseph Prieto had repeatedly told the jury in his opening and closing arguments, and while questioning lead detective Robert Bellenoit and Tagalakis, that no videotape or audiotape was made during Tagalakis’ interviews at the police station.
Bellenoit testified that Tagalakis admitted knowing Doane was selling drugs. Bellenoit also testified that Tagalakis told him she had told Doane he could sell drugs outside the house, but not inside.
Tagalakis testified she did not know anything about drugs being sold from her house or drugs being in the house.
Tagalakis was fired from her job as a teacher after her arrest last year and testified she is now working only part time. She is also involved in a custody fight with her ex-husband.