Top NH Court Upholds Death Sentence for Lone Death Row Inmate

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  • CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s top court upheld the sentence of the state’s only death row inmate, clearing the way for a convicted cop killer to become the first person executed in New Hampshire since 1939.

    Michael Addison, 33, was convicted of gunning down Michael Briggs in 2006 as the 35-year-old Manchester police officer was attempting to arrest him on a string of armed robbery charges.

    The high court’s unanimous ruling came nearly a year after it heard unprecedented daylong arguments in the first death penalty appeal to come before it in 50 years.

    Addison’s lawyers argued that holding the trial in a courthouse a stone’s throw from the Manchester police department injected passion and prejudice into the jury’s verdict.

    “The watershed event in this case was not moving the trial out of that courthouse,” attorney David Rothstein argued.

    But the Supreme Court disagreed, upholding the trial court’s finding that police headquarters is a “non-descript” building and a memorial to Briggs is barely visible to the public.

    Prosecutors countered that both sides worked hard to guarantee Addison a fair trial and that jurors certified their verdict was not influenced by arbitrary factors.

    “We conclude that the sentence of death was not imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor,” the justices wrote.

    Of all 22 issues raised by Addison’s lawyers on appeal, the justices concluded, “We find no reversible error.”

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