ADVERTISE          ARCHIVES          CLASSIFIEDS          CONNECT          PHOTOS          SUBMIT          SUBSCRIBE          E-EDITION
The Caledonian-Record | St. Johnsbury, VT


home : news : regional February 26, 2015

No retrial for now in 1989 NH fire that killed 4

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire man accused of setting a 1989 fire that killed a family of four is free after state prosecutors declined to retry him following a mistrial in December.

David McLeod, now 57, was charged in 2010 with four counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Carl and Lori Hina, their 4-month-old daughter, Lillian, and Carl Hina's 12-year-old daughter, Sara. A judge declared a mistrial Dec. 19 when jurors failed to reach a verdict after two days of deliberations.

A new trial had been scheduled for April 14 but Attorney General Joseph Foster said Thursday it became clear after a review, which included juror interviews, that a different outcome after a second trial was highly unlikely.

"Therefore, after a thorough review, the decision has been made to forego the April 2014 retrial and avoid a double jeopardy issue," Foster said in a statement.

The state can retry McLeod if new evidence or legal avenues develop.

McLeod's lawyer said supporters were happy with the state's decision.

"We have said from the beginning that David is innocent," said Public Defender Caroline Smith. "We are all relieved that he has finally been released from the Cheshire County Corrections facility and can rejoin his family."

Go Green

She declined to say where McLeod was headed. He had moved to California after the fire and was living there with his family when he was arrested in 2010.

At trial, prosecutors said McLeod started talking about burning down the apartment house in Keene where his ex-girlfriend lived in the summer of 1988, threatened to torch it three weeks before the January 1989 fire and told three people that night he was going to do it. While horrified residents gathered outside to watch their homes burn, McLeod was jubilant until he realized the Hinas had died, prosecutors said.

His lawyer countered that McLeod's cruel statements didn't prove his guilt. She said the case was thoroughly investigated in 1989 and that no evidence emerged to link him to the fire.

Though he was an early suspect, McLeod wasn't arrested for more than two decades, in part because so many of the witnesses were drunk the night of the blaze or were initially uncooperative with authorities.

Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Subscription Login

Wells River Chevy
All Around Power

Hayes Ford Bottom Banner



© The Caledonian-Record News 2012-2013
The Caledonian-Record, 190 Federal St., P.O. Box 8, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819 - 802-748-8121

Terms and Conditions


Privacy Policy


Email Headlines


Contact Us

New & Used Cars for Sale in Vermont:
Cash in on Vermont & New Hampshire's Best Deals at Kingdom Deals