NH authorities seek video evidence in shooting death of police chief

By Jim Haddadin, Foster's Daily Democrat
Posted July 18, 2012, at 4:02 p.m.

GREENLAND, N.H. — New Hampshire State Police are investigating whether the bloody April 12 shootout in Greenland that left a police chief dead and four police officers wounded was recorded on video.

Crime scene investigators found four video cameras installed on the front porch of the 517 Post Road home where the shootings occurred.

According to court documents, those cameras were connected to a power cable, but were not hard-wired to a video receiver. State police are now probing whether the cameras were transmitting video wirelessly to a computer inside the home, and if so, whether any video recordings were saved.

Surveillance footage of the shootout could provide a definitive and potentially graphic window into the drug raid, which investigators say began on the suspect’s front porch.

“The police are trying to determine if there was in fact active surveillance and if there was, if anything was captured,” Associate Attorney General Jane Young said Tuesday.

Police were authorized by Seabrook District Court Judge Mark Weaver at the end of June to scan through data saved on four computers seized from the home, which was occupied by 29-year-old suspect Cullen Mutrie.

Police say Mutrie shot dead Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney and wounded four members of the Attorney General’s Drug Task Force as they attempted to execute a search warrant at the home.

During an ensuing standoff with police, Mutrie killed himself and also murdered his one-time companion, Brittany Tibbetts, according to accounts given by representatives from the New Hampshire attorney general’s office.

Mutrie and Tibbetts were at the center of a drug investigation, and police were searching for evidence of cocaine and the prescription painkiller oxycodone at the residence, according to court documents. Police were also carrying a warrant to arrest Tibbetts, a 26-year-old Maine resident.

In the wake of the shootings, police searched Mutrie’s home and found four computers inside, according to an inventory attached to an affidavit signed by State Police Sgt. Joseph Ebert.

They include: two Apple MacBook Pro laptops — one found on the coffee table in Mutrie’s living room, and the other located on a shelf; an Apple iMac desktop computer, which was kept at a computer desk in Mutrie’s living room; and a Dell Inspiron laptop, which was found under a bed in the master bedroom.

According to Ebert’s affidavit, cameras like those installed on Mutrie’s front porch can send wireless signals to computers, where the images or video files can be monitored live or recorded for future viewing. The four computers seized from Mutrie’s home “could be capable of receiving images,” from the cameras, according to Ebert’s affidavit.

In addition to searching the computers, investigators are also preparing to parse the data stored on three mobile phones recovered from the home. Police received search warrants on June 29 authorizing the computer and phone searches.

One of the phones — a black Apple iPhone in a pink case — was found near Tibbetts’ body, according to a police affidavit. A second iPhone was located next to Mutrie on the basement floor.

The third phone, a silver and gray LG Tracfone, was located on the washing machine in the basement, nearby the spot where the two bodies were discovered.

According to an affidavit attached to one of the warrants, police will access text messages, call logs, phone book contacts, pictures, videos, audio files and other digital media stored on each phone for evidence.

Police say during the final hours of his life, Mutrie contacted at least one friend on the phone and admitted that he had gunned down multiple police officers. The friend spoke with police while the standoff was under way, and allegedly told them Mutrie had “made it clear” he wasn’t going to come out alive, according to court documents filed in April.

This week, Young said police are hoping to document any other contacts Mutrie had in the hours before and after he allegedly shot and killed Maloney.

“We’re looking for files, records, logs, journals associated with computer data and pretty much everything you can imagine that would be contained therein on a computer or a cellphone,” Ebert said Tuesday.

Weeks before they staged a drug raid at the Greenland home, police investigating Mutrie became aware of the security cameras installed on his porch. As a result, they were granted permission to conduct a so-called “no-knock” search at Mutrie’s home, meaning a judge granted them permission to enter the home without announcing their presence.

Investigators say police didn’t exercise that option; instead, officers attached to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Drug Task Force walked onto Mutrie’s front porch shortly after 6 p.m. and tried to make contact with him inside the house. The officers also waved at the security cameras to get Mutrie’s attention, according to an account given in May by Attorney General Michael Delaney.

A total of nine law enforcement officers were at the property when the shooting occurred, Delaney said. The contingent included Maloney, six members of the attorney general’s drug task force and two uniformed Greenland police officers.

Members of the drug task force were fired upon by Mutrie when they tried to forcibly gain entry to the home, Delaney said. Four of six were gunned down in rapid succession. According to the attorney general, the two officers who were not wounded returned fire and pushed Mutrie away from the entrance and back into his home. Maloney and those two officers then undertook “heroic actions” to assist the injured officers and bring them to safety.

During a “lull” in the activity where no shooting occurred, the wounded officers were assisted into vehicles and were driven away to safety, Delaney said, and the remaining officers took up secure positions on the property. Maloney was then shot in the head while he was taking cover behind the front right wheel of his marked cruiser, leaning over the hood of his car, Delaney said.

One of the two guns recovered from the home — a Ruger .357-caliber revolver — was purchased by Tibbetts at a gun show in Manchester in January, the attorney general’s office said in April.

Investigators have still not confirmed the origin of the other handgun found inside Mutrie’s home, a 9 mm pistol.

An inventory of evidence seized from the home totals 39 items, including ammunition, cartridge casings, bullets, shotgun wadding, drug paraphernalia, green vegetative matter, a digital scale, cash and medication.

Lab results are still pending on the green vegetative matter and white powder seized from the home, Young said this week.

“The state police continue to gather what we describe as crime scene evidence,” she added.

That evidence will be provided to the attorney general’s office for review. The investigation will culminate in a comprehensive final report, which could come in four to six weeks, Young said.

On May 1, Delaney also announced the formation of an independent panel of law enforcement and criminal justice specialists to study how the police operation was executed. Retired Nashua Police Chief Don Conley is serving as chairman of the review team.

© 2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

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http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/18/news/nation/nh-authorities-seek-video-evidence-in-shooting-death-of-police-chief/ printed on July 25, 2014