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Vermont family to stay behind bars

Union Leader Correspondent

July 01. 2014 8:03PM
From left, Joshua Perry, 23 his brother, Brian Perry, 18, and father ,E. Allen Perry, listen to arguments during their probable cause hearing in 10th Circuit Court on Tuesday. (JAMES A. KIMBLE)

SALEM — Three members of a Vermont family are now facing possible indictment for allegedly causing a riot at Canobie Lake Park last month when they scuffled with police after being asked to leave.

Defense lawyers argued in 10th Circuit Court, Salem Division, that there was not enough evidence to support the charges.

But a circuit court judge on Tuesday disagreed, saying he was troubled that the father and his two sons decided to fight with police while families and children in strollers were passing by at the popular amusement park.

“If each of them simply walked away that day — this was totally unnecessary and would not have happened,” Judge Robert Stephen said on Tuesday.

The cases against E. Allan Perry, 45, of Lydon, Vt. and two of his sons, Joshua Perry, 23, of Sutton, Vt. and Brian Perry, 18, of Lyndonville, Vt. will now be bound over to Rockingham County Superior Court for possible indictment.

The trio remained held on $10,000 cash bail at the Rockingham County jail after the defense argued for lower bail. Police arrested five family members in total.

Security footage of the tussle was scrutinized by defense lawyers during the four-hour hearing.

One of the officers injured during the fracas testified that E. Allan Perry demanded a refund for his admission ticket and refused to leave the park after being told to put a knife he was carrying back in his car. A park staffer had given Perry a business card to call about a refund at a later time.

Even though Perry was told to leave the park entrance repeatedly, “he was still adamant that he had to get his money back,” Salem police Lt. Michael Kelly testified Tuesday.

Joshua Perry, 23, was also told to leave or be arrested when he swore at police officers dealing with his father, according to Kelly. Kelly said that he told Joshua Perry that he was being placed under arrest for refusing to leave the premises.

Perry’s father stepped over and confronted Kelly and Officer Michael Massahos about arresting his son, Joshua, prosecutors said.

While Massahos approached the father, Brian Perry grabbed Massahos by the waist along with the officer’s utility belt, which held a gun and Taser, according to Kelly’s testimony.

All three men were eventually subdued and taken into custody.

Kelly said that he had to put Joshua Perry into a “hip toss” to get him into custody but fell with him in the process, badly injuring his shoulder. Kelly, who has a sling on his left shoulder, said on Tuesday he had suffered a separated clavicle and possible ligament damage.

“I felt the injury immediately when I hit the ground.” Kelly testified. “It’s the result of trying to effect an arrest when a subject is resisting violently.”

Public defender Jim Reis suggested that his client, E. Allan Perry, may have been trying to protect his son and not interfering with an arrest.

Reis and two other defense lawyers suggested the men were having separate interactions with police and could not be charged under the felony riot law.

“There is no synchronicity of action, no synchronicity of purpose,” Reis said.

Salem police prosecutor Jason Grosky said the defense’s argument that the Perrys were acting independently of one another was “offensive” and that each of them decided to go after the officers.

“If E. Allen Perry wanted to keep the peace, he should have backed away,” Grosky said. “Instead, he went after two police officers and engaged with them.”

“They were attacking and fighting with police officers,” Grosky added.

Two other family members are facing misdemeanor charges for the alleged melee: Damian Perry, 18, of Lyndonville, Vt., and Ashley Perry, 20, of Sutton, Vt. were each charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.

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