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Bar News - September 18, 2009

Award Presented to Capital Murder Prosecution Teams


Former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte headed the Addison prosecution team, which included (at left) Will Delker and Jeffrey Strelzin, both senior assistant attorneys general. (Not pictured, Peter Hinckley, assistant attorney general.)

Members of the team that prosecuted John Brooks included Kirsten Wilson (left), who recently resigned as senior assistant attorney general to go into private practice, and Karen Huntress, an assistant attorney general. Not pictured were Janice Rundles, senior assistant attorney general, and Michael Lewis, assistant attorney general.
The National Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation (AGACL) presented an award for outstanding advocacy in capital trials to members of the NH Attorney General’s Office; they prosecuted two capital murder cases almost simultaneously.

Kirsten Wilson, who recently resigned as Senior Assistant Attorney General to join the Nelson Kinder Mosseau & Saturley firm, a member of the prosecution team State v. Brooks, accepted the award on behalf of the NH Department of Justice at the annual conference of the AGACL on July 29 in Miami.

(Bar News photos are from a farewell event for former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, held recently at the Grappone Center.)

The Brooks case captured headlines when John Brooks was tried in a murder-for- hire, and a "kidnapping in the commission of a murder" case. This combination under New Hampshire laws made Brooks subject to the death penalty. In the first capital murder verdict in New Hampshire since 1959, Brooks was found guilty of capital murder on Oct. 16 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. In addition to Wilson, attorneys on the Brooks’ case were Janice Rundles, also a senior assistant attorney general, and Karen Huntress and Michael Lewis, assistant attorneys general.

Less than a month later, Michael "Stixx" Addison was convicted of capital murder in the shooting of Manchester Police Officer Michael L. Briggs, and sentenced to death. No one has been executed in NH since 1939 and Addison is currently the only person in NH facing a death sentence. He faces numerous appeals on an untested death penalty law. Kelly Ayotte, who recently resigned as Attorney General to consider running for the US Senate, led the Addison prosecution team along with N. William Delker and Jeffrey Strelzin, senior assistant attorneys general; and Peter Hinckley, assistant attorney general.

The AGACL said that each year a board of directors’ award for excellence in advocacy is given out to "government attorneys or government litigation teams who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, professionalism, and skill in the task of prosecuting and upholding death penalty judgments." The ruling in the Brooks and Addison cases are unique for New Hampshire, a state that last used the death penalty in 1939.

Krista Glencross, a senior at Skidmore College, was an editorial intern at the Bar News this summer.

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