By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
Despite the accused killer being dead for more than a year, the state still considers the investigation into a Hinsdale double murder to be in the “pre-indictment” phase.
Assistant Attorney General Jesse O’Neill argued Wednesday in Keene District Court that the arrest warrant affidavits for Derrick Shippee needs to remain sealed in order to protect an ongoing investigation.
Shippee, 28, was found dead at a relative’s home in Vernon, Vt., from an overdose of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl hours after he was named as the suspect in the April 11, 2019 shooting deaths of Neal Bolster, 29, and Aaliyah Jacobs, 19.
The Keene Sentinel’s Paul Cuno-Booth has filed three motions seeking to have the information unsealed and argued Wednesday the laws protecting a pre-indictment investigation do not apply in this case since the suspect is dead.
“The person who was charged with the crime is now dead and could not possibly be indicted at this point,” Cuno-Booth said.
O’Neill did not answer directly when asked by Judge David Forrest if the state contends that the investigation could yield new indictments against living suspects.
“It still falls under the description of a pre-indictment investigation,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill and New Hampshire State Police Detective Matt Anderson gave Forrest an update on the investigation in a closed-door session. In open court, O’Neill said he expected the case to resolve fairly quickly. Forrest noted that the state has been investigating the case for more than a year.
“How long is it reasonable to expect this investigation to go on,” Forrest asked.
O’Neill could not give a definite date for the end of the investigation but said there are steps being taken to bring it to a conclusion.
“There is an end of the path planned out,” O’Neill said.
Arrest warrant affidavits typically become public after an arrest is made and the warrant is “returned” to the court. Since Shippee was never arrested for the murders, the warrant was never returned. There is no public court case against Shippee associated with the charges.