Friday, April 6, 2012

Brentwood, NH: Police: Londonderry woman admitted murder

BRENTWOOD — A Londonderry woman accused of fatally shooting her ex-boyfriend in the head took the murder weapon from a Hollis man and later admitted to him that she used his gun to kill Richard Mannion Jr., according to a police affidavit unsealed by a judge on Thursday.

New details about the first-degree murder case against Nicole R. LeBlanc, 38, of 37 Olde Country Village were made public after the New Hampshire Union Leader filed a petition to unseal her arrest warrant.

A redacted version of the arrest warrant was unsealed after a brief hearing on Thursday morning before Judge Marguerite Wageling in Rockingham County Superior Court.

It gives the most detailed account so far of what led to the killing of Mannion Jr., a divorced father of four found dead inside his home at 31 Hollow Oak Drive in Sandown on Jan. 14.

State police used a wiretap on Feb. 21 to record LeBlanc confessing to the murder, according to the affidavit.

LeBlanc gave a detailed account of the killing to Dennis Johnson, who police say she took the murder weapon from, court documents indicate.

“In those conversations, LeBlanc stated directly that she had shot and killed the victim,” state police Sgt. Joseph Ebert wrote in a sworn affidavit. “LeBlanc also detailed how she had entered the victim's house and had killed him.”

LeBlanc was arrested three days later on a charge of first-degree murder. She is being held without bail and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Mannion Jr.'s body was found in his bed on Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. with a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, the affidavit says. Mannion's girlfriend, who is not named in court documents, discovered the body and called 911.

Police believe the murder happened in the early morning hours because Mannion's cell phone shows he was sending text messages until about midnight, court documents show.

After the body was found, there was “an attempt to access the victim's phone messages,” the affidavit says.

Roughly a day before his murder, Mannion Jr. “had a conversation with one of his co-workers” that he perceived as a threat, the affidavit says. Mannion Jr. was found murdered inside his home about a day later.

LeBlanc provided investigators with an alibi for her whereabouts in the early morning hours of Jan. 14.

Her relationship with Johnson is unclear.

Johnson told police he met LeBlanc about three months before the murder.

“They communicate primarily by calling and text messaging via cellular telephones,” Ebert wrote.

State police interviewed Johnson three times, the last of which was done in the presence of his attorneys, court documents say.

“During that interview, Johnson stated in substance that at around 10 p.m. in the evening of January 14, 2012, LeBlanc telephoned him and asked him to meet her at her apartment complex in Londonderry,” the affidavit says.

Johnson told police that “LeBlanc subsequently admitted to him that she killed the victim.”

Details about what LeBlanc allegedly said to Johnson and the conversation Mannion Jr. had with a co-worker before he was murdered remain under court seal.

An unredacted version of the affidavit is expected to be made public early next month.

Johnson has not been charged with any crime. He could not be reached for comment on Thursday. A phone number listed under his name had been disconnected.

LeBlanc already had a criminal history stemming from her contact with Mannion Jr., court records show.

She was convicted of simple assault from an incident last August, and she twice violated a no-contact order by appearing at Mannion Jr.'s home in Sandown, once on Dec. 25 and again on Dec. 28, the affidavit says.

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