By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Merrimack County Sheriff David Croft blamed a miscommunication for members of the press being held in the courtroom for several minutes immediately after the guilty verdicts in the Logan Clegg homicide trial Monday.
Croft, whose deputies handle security in Merrimack County Superior Court, said it is a long-standing practice to allow the family and friends of the victims to exit first after a verdict.
One deputy guarded the courtroom door to keep the reporters from leaving after the verdicts were read to allow the victims’ family to leave first, but it wasn’t locked, Croft said.
The deputy that helped escort the family out didn’t hear the deputy inside the courtroom radio for further instructions because of commotion in the hall.
“He didn’t hear the deputy in courtroom saying, ‘can I let the press out now?’” Croft said.
The Merrimack County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of the security at Merrimack County Superior Court and some Circuit Courts.
Croft said the reporters were asked to stay in the room for less than three minutes before they were allowed to leave.
As a result, Croft said, some reporters missed the first few minutes of the press conference after the verdict in which the family of the murder victims Wendy and Stephen Reid spoke.
“This was nothing more than a mistake. I apologize immensely,” Croft said.
He said trials can be very traumatic on the family and friends of the victims so they try to usher them out of the courtroom right after the verdict.
InDepthNH.org withdrew its right-to-know request to Superior Court after speaking with Croft.