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Judge adds another 43 years to the prison sentences of West Side murderer

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 23. 2018 9:09AM
Paulson Papillion speaks with his attorney Tuesday during his sentencing in Hillsborough County Superior Court. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Manchester shooting victim Michael Pittman, with his wife, Kerriann. (COURTESY)

MANCHESTER — The one-time leader of a Manchester street gang will spend decades in state prison, following his sentencing Tuesday for his latest conviction — orchestrating the murder of a person who may have told police about his drug dealing.

Paulson Papillon, 28, was sentenced for second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder of Michael Pittman in November 2015.

“My husband was finally seeking treatment for his addiction and then he was shot and killed in cold blood,” wrote Kerriann Pittman in a letter read during the hearing. Prosecutors say she and her family have moved out of state because of a medical condition.

Papillon told Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown that he wanted to appeal his March conviction. He said little else except a “no sir” when Brown asked if he wanted to debate the sentence.

Pittman was shot in the early evening of Nov. 3, 2015, when he went outside his Douglas Street apartment, telling his wife he needed to fix a light in her car. He was a customer of Papillon’s gang; Papillon’s conviction was the fourth and final conviction related to the shooting.

The trigger man, Adrien Stillwell, has been convicted of first-degree murder in the case. During Papillon’s trial, Stillwell testified and took responsibility for the murder and said Papillon had nothing to do with it. Two others — Michael Younge and Nathaniel Smith — have pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Younge testified against Papillon at trial.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Peter Hinckley, said the convictions would never have happened without the work of Manchester police and the Attorney General victim-witness office. A key challenge involved ensuring the cooperation of witnesses, said Hinckley, who prosecutes homicides for the New Hampshire Attorney General.

“He (Papillon) was a danger to society, a danger to the city, a danger to a lot of people,” he said.

Brown issued two sentences on Tuesday and specified they will be served back to back. Papillon will start serving them once he finishes two other consecutive sentences:

• Second-degree murder, 33 years to life.

• Conspiracy to commit murder, 10 to 30 years.

• Conspiracy to smuggle Suboxone into state prison, 8 to 10 years.

• Trafficking of cocaine and fentanyl, 4 to 10 years.

Papillon must also reimburse the state $4,432 to cover the cost of Pittman’s funeral and cleanup of the murder scene.

Papillon has already served about two years of the drug trafficking sentence. He was out on bail awaiting trial on those charges when he ordered the killing of Pittman.

Once in prison on those charges, he conspired with his sister to deliver Suboxone and synthetic marijuana to the prison, authorities said in court papers. A recording of a prison call captured he and his sister speaking Creole to arrange the deliveries.

Tuesday’s sentencing hearing took about 15 minutes. It drew Hillsborough County Sheriff deputies, who kept a watch on Papillon, three Manchester police detectives, Police Chief Nick Willard and Assistant Chief Carlo Capano.

Public defender Richard Guerriero attended in an advisory capacity; Papillon had fired him halfway through his trial.

Victim Witness Advocate Brigit Feeney read Pittman’s letter. The widow said their 4-year-old daughter asks about her father every day, and her 13-year-old daughter suffers nightmares after seeing Pittman die on the steps of her home.

Kerriann said she will spend the rest of her life working in her husband’s name to get people into treatment.

“You have given me a drive like I have never had before, to get as many people as I can (away) from people who deal in death,” she wrote.

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