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Man accused in fatal shooting of Alstead man pleads guilty

Union Leader Correspondent

November 13. 2017 9:51PM
Cody Yeaw, 25, of Vermont is shown during a January appearance in Cheshire Superior Court in Keene. He is charged in the death of an Alstead man. (Meghan Pierce/Correspondent)

KEENE — A man accused of shooting an Alstead man in the head, killing him, earlier this year has pleaded guilty in the Cheshire County Superior Court.

Cody Yeaw, 26, was charged with special felony reckless manslaughter in the death of 57-year-old Robert Wesley of Alstead.

Yeaw told police he had been living in Wesley’s home at 22 March Hill Road in Alstead for two years and said the two men were friends despite their age difference, explaining that Wesley was like a “father figure” to him, according to the recently unsealed arrest affidavit on file at the Cheshire Superior Court in Keene.

Jury selection for his trial was set to start Monday. Instead, Yeaw pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter in court on Thursday. He is set to return to superior court in Keene Dec. 14 for sentencing.

Yeaw was being held at the Cheshire County House of Corrections on $50,000 cash bail however that has been revoked.

According to court documents Yeaw made a capped plea for 11 to 24 years in state prison. The judge at the sentencing, however, will not be bound by that capped plea and Yeaw has the right to withdraw his plea if the judge imposes a higher sentence.

The maximum penalty for the felony is 30 years.

In the affidavit, lead investigator on the case, State Police Sgt. Shawn Skahan, said he was called to the March Hill Road home on Jan. 7, around 8:36 p.m. The first arriving police officer was Roger Landry of the Alstead Police Department. Landry had arrived on scene to find Yeaw standing at the front door. Landry reported Yeaw waved him in and said more than once, “Hurry up, he’s over here,” Skahan wrote.

When Landry went inside he found first responders aiding Wesley, who was on the floor bleeding from the back of the head. They confirmed Wesley had been shot in the back of the head and one told Landry that Yeaw admitted to accidentally shooting him.

Police said Yeaw told them he had never handled a firearm before but that Wesley brought guns out and put one in Yeaw’s belt before they took a walk. Police said Yeaw told them that he and Wesley had been drinking and when they were back at the house, thinking that the gun was unloaded, Yeaw pulled the gun from his belt and pulled the trigger.

Even though Yeaw had been drinking and said he had several mixed drinks with vodka in them, police determined he was aware and able to talk so he was interviewed that night at the Walpole Police Department by Skahan and another officer.

“Yeaw stated that he pulled the trigger “intentionally” but not with the “intention” to cause what happened,” Skahan wrote.

Dr. Jennifer Duval, assistant deputy medical examiner, told police in an interview that she was “certain that the barrel of the gun was pressing against” Wesley’s head at the time he was shot.

Duval said a “muzzle stamp” on his skin where he was shot indicates this.

“Also, Dr. Duval states that the angle of the shot was front to back and slightly downward, which contrasts Yeaw’s explanation of where the gun was when he pulled the trigger,” Skahan wrote.

Courts Crime Alstead Keene

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