SEABROOK, N.H. — A judge found probable cause in the case of a Massachusetts man who allegedly used a box cutter in an attempt to kidnap a woman in North Hampton on Friday, Sept. 20.
William Larochelle, 31, faced Judge Sawako Gardner in person during his probable cause hearing at Hampton Circuit Court Monday.
Larochelle, of 132 High St. in Newburyport, Mass., is charged with criminal threatening, attempted kidnapping and robbery. Officer Steve Janvrin, who represents the state in this case, said Larochelle used a weapon as he tried to confine a woman in a parking lot near Shaw’s Supermarket. He tried to order her to drive him to Maine, threatening to cut her if she did not.
“She said he had a small knife. She described it as some kind of box cutter,” Janvrin said in an interview after the hearing.
The woman started screaming for help and as people moved in to help her, Larochelle ran away toward a restaurant and then to Dunkin’ Donuts, Janvrin told the court. She walked away from the incident physically unharmed.
Larochelle’s defense attorney, Mark Osborne, argued there was no probable cause for the attempted kidnapping and robbery charges because Larochelle never had full control of the victim and never exercised control of her vehicle.
“There is no argument in the criminal threatening charge but with respect to the attempted kidnapping and robbery allegations, I don’t know.” Osborne said.
Osborne based his argument that there was no attempted kidnapping on Section 633:1 of the New Hampshire Criminal Code.
“There is no evidence he held (the victim) for ransom, or as a hostage. There is not any evidence he took her to avoid apprehension by law enforcement. He did not use her to terrorize someone else. He was not committing any harm as he tried to control or detain her. She never got into the car,” Osborne said.
Osborne argued that Larochelle never took control of the vehicle because he could not start it.
Apparently, Larochelle tried to force the victim into her vehicle and when she refused he was stuck because he cannot drive a car with a standard shift.
“We’re not alleging he was successful,” Janvrin snapped.
Osborne asked for bail to be reduced from $20,000 to $10,000 cash or corporate surety.
Janvrin said bail should remain at what it was set at because Larochelle lives in Massachusetts and wanted to go to Maine at the time of the incident. He noted that Larochelle may have post traumatic stress disorder from the time he spent serving in Iraq while he was in the Army. Larochelle’s military record indicates he went Absent Without Leave and was discharged, Janvrin said.
Gardner found there was probable cause for all three felony level offenses. She suggested a counselor from the Veterans Affairs visit with Larochelle at the Rockingham County House of Corrections so his PTSD can be addressed.
Bail remained set at $20,000 cash or corporate surety.
Distributed by MCT Information Services