Chief's death, hepatitis C among top NH stories
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The deadly shooting of a police chief and wounding of four police officers in a Greenland drug raid was one of New Hampshire's top news stories in 2012.
Tributes poured in from all over the country for Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney, 48, who was days from retirement when he was shot once in the head on April 12 as he scrambled to pull his injured colleagues out of the line of fire.
Another big story was the arrest of a traveling medical technician at Exeter Hospital, who was accused of stealing drugs and infecting patients with hepatitis C through contaminated syringes.
Also in the news was a busy election year as the state, in its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, picked Republican Mitt Romney to challenge President Barack Obama, said goodbye to popular, four-term Gov. John Lynch, shifted the Legislature from a Republican to a Democratic majority, and became the first state to elect an all-female slate to Congress.
Maloney considered the raid at Cullen Mutrie's home to be the last bit of police work he had to clear up. Officers arrived at Mutrie's house, but Mutrie was ready, opening fire as police tried to gain entry. Mutrie then killed a female companion before turning the gun on himself.
Among the many in uniform attending Maloney's funeral was Manchester Police Officer Dan Doherty, who had survived multiple gunshot wounds during a March pursuit of a suspect in an unrelated case. He testified against Myles Webster, who recently was convicted of attempted murder. Webster's lawyers said it was a case of mistaken identity.
Hospital worker David Kwiatkowski pleaded not guilty to multiple federal charges of tampering with a consumer product and illegally obtaining drugs. Until May, he worked as a cardiac technologist at Exeter Hospital, where 32 patients were diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries. U.S. Attorney John Kacavas called him a "serial infector."
Before Exeter, Kwiatkowski worked as a traveling technologist in 18 hospitals in seven states, despite having been fired twice over allegations of drug use and theft.
Thousands of patients in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania have since been tested for hepatitis C, a blood-borne viral infection that can cause liver disease and chronic health issues. In addition to the New Hampshire patients, six patients Kansas, five in Maryland and one in Pennsylvania have been found to carry the strain Kwiatkowski carries. His case is scheduled to go to trial next October.
In elections, New Hampshire started the year looking at a bunch of Republicans in the presidential, congressional and state legislative races — and ended up with a majority of Democrats, a reversal of fortune for a party swept largely from power in 2010.
Democrats picked up the state's four electoral college votes for President Barack Obama and the two congressional seats. Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter reclaimed the 1st District seat that Republican Frank Guinta had taken from her. Democrat Ann McLane Kuster, who lost to Charles Bass in 2010, easily beat him to take the 2nd District seat.
Democrat Maggie Hassan was elected to succeed the retiring Lynch, a Democrat whose popularity remained so high after nearly eight years in office that Hassan campaigned she would lead in his footsteps.
Election law also made news. Registered voters were asked to show photo identification before obtaining a ballot. Those w
ho did not have photo identification with them or chose not to show IDs could still vote after filling out affidavits attesting to their identities.
The Legislature also changed the state's voter registration forms. A section of the form, however, was put on hold after a court challenge by out-of-state college students, who traditionally have been allowed to vote in the state without holding legal residency.
Had it taken effect, new voters would have been required to sign a statement saying they declare New Hampshire their home and are subject to laws that apply to all residents, including laws requiring drivers to register cars and get New Hampshire driver's licenses.