Second suspect under investigation in Portsmouth home invasion
The revelation came to light roughly four months after Terrence Hartley was sentenced 15 to 30 years in state prison for carrying out the Sept. 22, 2013, attack.
Hartley, 48, pleaded guilty to burglary and two counts of first-degree assault for beating a man and his uncle's estranged wife inside the home.
Prosecutors said in a July 7 court motion filed in Rockingham County Superior Court that the state needs to keep evidence related to Hartley's case, including a Harley Davidson motorcycle, because Portsmouth police are continuing to investigate an alleged co-conspirator.
“The police have been actively investigating this co-conspirator since the evening the crimes took place,” Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said in court papers.
Hartley's public defender Julia Nye recently asked a judge to release her client's property seized by police, which includes a leather jacket, motorcycle boots, a title to a truck and a cell phone.
Prosecutors suggested that lab results now pending with an undisclosed piece of evidence may ultimately decide whether a second arrest is made.
“Portsmouth police are waiting for the results of an analysis that had to be conducted out of state as our state lab does not have the ability to conduct this particular type of analysis,” Conway said in the court motion. “Once the results are obtained, Portsmouth police will determine whether or not they have probable cause to arrest the defendant's co-conspirator.”
Prosecutors have not disclosed what exactly is being tested. When police canvassed the area on the night of the assault, they found a small aluminum bat in a wooded area between Simonds Road and the Maple Haven Park, according to court records.
Prosecutor have not named the suspect now under investigation.
But prosecutors noted in an earlier court filing that a conversation Hartley had with his uncle on the night of his arrest led police to seizing the motorcycle and other evidence.
"During the booking process, the defendant asked to a make a phone call in order to call his uncle," Conway said in the motion.
Hartley told his uncle where to find his motorcycle during the phone call, but police responded to the scene first.
"Officers found a purple cardboard box next to the motorcycle," Conway said in the motion. "The box was for a Jason-style Halloween mask."
Police also found a Wal-Mart bag nearby. Police learned that the store sold one of the masks on Sept. 21.
“The video surveillance shows a white male wearing a black leather jacket, jeans and a blue bandana,” Conway wrote. “The male purchases the mask, two black bandanas and some other items. The man is seen exiting the store and going to a motorcycle. The motorcycle then pulls out of the store.”
The uncle is the estranged husband of the woman beaten at the home, according to Conway.
The woman later told the police that her husband had threatened her in the past, according to the court motion.
"He threatened that he would harm her if she filed for divorce," Conway said in the motion. "He told her that he would not lay a finger on her – but that he would have someone else do it."
The woman filed for divorce days before the attack. On the night of the assault, the couple was awoken from bed around 1:30 a.m. by the sound of glass shattering. The attacker broke a sliding glass door to enter the home.
Police arrived 10 minutes after a 911 call from the home, and found Hartley walking along Ocean Road with blood all over his leather jacket, gloves and pants, prosecutors said. Hartley has a criminal record which includes a 1999 conviction for aggravated felonious sexual assault and domestic assault in 1996.