2006 Manchester, New Hampshire, police shooting
The 2006 Manchester, New Hampshire police shooting was an incident that took place on October 16, 2006, in Manchester, New Hampshire, United States. The incident occurred when police officer Michael Briggs was shot while on duty. Briggs was later transported to the hospital before dying of his injuries. The suspect, Michael "Stix" Addison, fled the state of New Hampshire, prompting a manhunt by police. Fifteen hours after the shooting, Addison was arrested in Dorchester, Massachusetts, waived domestic extradition and was transported back to New Hampshire. Prior to his return to New Hampshire, Addison was charged by Boston Police with being a fugitive from justice. Addison was transported to the Suffolk County Jail with $2 million (2006 US$) in bail (contrary to other news reports). The incident prompted prosecutors to seek the death penalty for Michael Addison, which caused a debate about the place of capital punishment in New Hampshire. Recent news reports indicated that the October 12, 2006 shooting and a string of crimes that occurred a week earlier resulted in the arrest and questioning of two more people connected with Addison.
A week after the shooting, a memorial service was held on October 21, 2006, and state and local politicians and various charity organizations expressed their condolences to the Briggs family and the community of Manchester. In January 2007, the Manchester Police Department retired Michael Briggs' badge number in honor of the fallen officer. In March 2007 a trial date for Addison was set for early September 2008.
The capital murder trial of Michael Addison was the first for the state of New Hampshire since Gordon E. Perry was indicted for capital murder charges for the shooting of Officer Jeremy Charron in 1997.
- 1 Background
- 2 The shooting
- 3 Trial and appeal
- 4 Aftermath
- 5 Responses
- 6 Media involvement
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Michael Briggs (1971–2006) was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, and served in the United States Marines from 1991–1995 after graduating from Pembroke Academy in 1990. From 1995–2001 he worked as a correctional officer and a police officer for the Epsom Police Department from 1995–1998. On May 2, 2001, Briggs became a police officer for the Manchester Police Department and was assigned as a bicycle police officer. Briggs graduated from the New Hampshire Police Academy in November 2001. In 2004, he received a life-saving medal after saving residents from a burning building. He was awarded the Congressional Law Enforcement Award in October 2005 for the same actions. Briggs was a member of the New Hampshire Police Association and friend and co-worker of Jeremy Charron, who died in August 1997. Briggs was married and the father of two young sons.
Michael K. Addison
The defense sought to convince jurors that Addison's troubled upbringing living between his grandmother's home in Brockton, Massachusetts and one of Boston's most violent and drug-ridden housing projects in the Roxbury neighborhood, being raised by an alcoholic mother, and a father who abandoned him as reasons why he should not be put to death.
Born in Boston on March 19, 1980, Michael Addison was abandoned by his biological father, Michael Wilson. He was adopted by Lucious Addison, a disabled Vietnam veteran, and Rosetta Addison, his maternal grandmother who legally adopted him from the age of two. Lucious and Rosetta later divorced, and Rosetta reared her own teenage children and "Little Michael" in what was described as a chaotic setting. He attended high school in Dorchester but did not graduate.
According to court records, in the ten years before the October 16, 2006 shooting, Addison had numerous run-ins with the police. On August 10, 1996 he beat Cheryl Kiser (his birth mother) and threatened to kill her. According to court filings, Kiser was a fifteen-year-old girl with a history of psychiatric problems who neglected her prenatal care and who engaged in violence, drug abuse and alcohol abuse during her pregnancy with Michael. There were, according to the defense filing, serious prenatal and peri-natal complications of Kiser's pregnancy with Michael Addison resulting in impaired brain function. Addison was charged in South Boston Juvenile Court with delinquent threatening and delinquent assault and battery against Kiser. He pled delinquent, and both charges were placed on file for the first-time offender.
According to court records, Addison was still a 16-year-old juvenile in 1996 when he pointed a revolver in another Dorchester high school student's face. The gun misfired; Manuel Andrade was spared. Firearms expert Marc Dupre testified that the gun was in poor condition, but it was capable of firing a bullet. He said it might have been able to fire after several squeezes of the trigger or after moving the cylinder slightly. Addison was one of the first juveniles to be indicted under Massachusetts' new youthful offender law, which allowed him to be prosecuted as an adult and face potential adult penalties. He was subsequently charged with assault with intent to kill, assault and battery, and possession of a firearm and ammunition without a permit. On July 21, 1997, he pleaded guilty to the three charges and was committed to state Department of Youth Services custody until his 21st birthday, followed by a suspended term of adult incarceration of from two to three years.
According to court records, while out on bail awaiting trial for the 1996 offense, the day after his 17th birthday, Addison was charged with armed robbery and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon when he robbed, kicked, and stabbed Tredaine Purdy with a knife in the lower back at a park in neighboring Roxbury on March 20, 1997. Addison pleaded guilty in December, 1997, to armed robbery and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon—the armed assault with intent to murder charge was dismissed under the plea agreement—that resulted in Addison being sentenced 2–3 years (to run concurrent with the prior sentence) in secure juvenile facilities and state prison in Massachusetts, with three years of supervised probation to follow release from prison on his 21st birthday.
Addison was freed early, in September 2000, and met with his probation officer who was preparing paperwork to transfer his probation to New Hampshire. However, Addison skipped town without the requisite permission. In November, 2000, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was brought to court in June, 2001, and was released on bail pending a hearing on the matter. However, he failed to appear for the hearing, and a second bench warrant was issued for the probation violation in July of that year.
At the time of the Briggs shooting, Michael "Stix" Addison was a resident of Manchester. Addison had previous encounters with Officer Briggs in New Hampshire. In 2002, Addison was arrested by Briggs near the Queen City Bridge in Manchester. In March 2003, Addison received first aid from Briggs after a shooting incident, assistance that ironically may have saved Addison's life. The shooter, Thomas Williams, was arrested July 15, 2003, and pled guilty in March, 2004. In October, 2006, he reached a deal for a shortened sentence contingent upon his testifying for the prosecution in the Officer Briggs murder case.
In October 2003, Addison was arrested in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and charged with false imprisonment, criminal restraint, prowling and criminal threatening. Addison pled guilty to criminal restraint of Brian St. Peter in the dispute over drug money, a misdemeanor; he was sentenced to six months in the Rockingham County House of Corrections. The other charges were dropped in the plea deal, but on August 6, 2004, Addison stipulated to the fact that he was in violation of his Massachusetts probation by virtue of the false imprisonment. His probation was revoked, and he was sentenced to two to six months in the Suffolk County House of Correction for violating the terms of his probation.
For two years following that incarceration, Addison was apparently uninvolved in criminal activity until the crime spree in the week preceding the Officer Briggs shooting. According to court records, Addison was convicted of participating with Antoine Bell-Rogers in three separate felonies in the six days preceding the Briggs shooting.
On October 16, 2006, Officer Michael Briggs and his partner John Breckenridge were responding to a domestic disturbance call involving Addison and Antoine Bell-Rodgers. When the two officers spotted the suspects, Briggs ordered them to stop. Bell-Rodgers stopped but Addison continued walking away. When Officer Briggs commanded Addison to stop, Addison turned and shot Briggs. Bell-Rodgers surrendered to police but Addison fled the crime scene. Later, police found Addison's gun and t-shirt. In a court reenactment, eyewitnesses claimed that moments before the shooting, they saw a dark gray van and two men jumping out of it and running north towards Lincoln Street where the shooting took place.
A manhunt was launched after the shooting, as SWAT teams and local police searched throughout the city of Manchester looking for Addison. A SWAT team showed up at an apartment building where Addison's girlfriend Angela Swist lived and found clothing stained with blood in a bathtub and a bottle of bleach nearby and questioned Swist. Later the police executed search warrants at two other apartment buildings where they found more evidence. The manhunt forced several schools to be placed under lockdown as police and SWAT teams searched vehicles leaving or coming to work or school. The search later expanded into Massachusetts after an Internet search revealed Addison's previous address in Massachusetts and police using GPS to track his cell phone calls to an apartment building outside of Boston where Addison was later found by police. After a stand-off with police, Addison was soon arrested.
Extradition and charges
Addison was extradited back to New Hampshire and denied his role in the murder. During a taped interview, Addison told his story six different times before confessing to authorities that he shot at the police officers coming towards him. The Manchester District Court charged Addison with capital murder. Attorney General Kelly Ayotte sought the death penalty as stated under New Hampshire state law that a murder of a police officer may be punishable by death. Later Addison was also charged with armed robbery, conspiracy and felony possession of a firearm in relation to a five day crime spree that started a week before the homicide.
Investigation and further arrests
An investigation conducted by local officials followed the shooting.
OCT. 10, 2006 Antoine Bell-Rogers robs owner of El Mexicano restaurant in Manchester at gunpoint, firing one shot into the ceiling and one into the floor between the owner's legs, while Michael K. Addison robs a customer at knifepoint of $300 and a cell phone.
OCT. 11, 2006 Addison holds female clerk at 7-Eleven convenience store in Hudson at gunpoint while Bell-Rogers steals $280. During the investigation two women connected to Michael Addison, Angela Swist and Teresia Shipley, turned themselves in to police after authorities issued warrants for their arrest. During an interview with police, one of the women, Angela Swist, told officers that she drove Addison and Anthonie Rodgers to the 7-Eleven on October 11, where Addison and his accomplice robbed the store and fled. She also admitted that she was the driver of the get-away car.
OCT. 15, 2006 Addison and Bell-Rogers are involved in a gunfire incident on Edward J. Roy Drive in Manchester. Antoine Bell-Rogers, one of the men arrested at the scene of the October 16, 2006 patrolman shooting, was charged with firing a handgun at an apartment and felony possession of a firearm but was not charged in connection with the shooting of officer Michael Briggs. A grand jury, however, charged Bell-Rogers with armed robbery and conspiracy after robbing a convenience store five days before the shooting. A bail of $50,000 (2006 USD) was set in October 2006 and was upheld in January 2007. On March 5, 2007, Bell-Rodgers asked the court to have his felony charges dropped. On March 28, 2007, the Hillsborough County Superior Court re-indicted Bell-Rogers of the weapons charges after a defense lawyer tried to dismiss Bell-Rogers original indictment. That same day, Teresia Shipley pleaded guilty for the charges of helping Addison rob a convenience store days before the shooting.
After a number of charges were resolved either through conviction or plea, Antoine Bell-Rogers was sentenced to 60½ years in prison. (Source: WMUR Channel 9, April 30, 2008)
Trial and appeal
- November 17, 2006: A pre-trial hearing was conducted, in which police officers told the judge about the shooting on October 16, 2006. The pre-hearing also allowed the officers and Judge William Lyons to place Michael Addison in superior (or state) court based on evidence. Some lawyers and legal observers suggested that the trial of Michael Addison could take years.
- February 16, 2007: Defenders of Michael Addison complained about how the grand jury improperly subpoenaed records and eyewitness testimonies, as court rules stated that state prosecutors cannot present psychological evaluations, juvenile and other records without authorization of the judge.
- February 27, 2007: Addison pleaded not guilty of the capital murder charges during the five minute court hearing. Another court hearing was set for March 6.
- March 8, 2007: The judicial council received $134,542 dollars (2007 USD) to pay defense representing Michael Addison.
- March 14, 2007: Kathleen A. McGuire set a date for jury selection for Michael Addison's capital murder trial to be conducted on September 2, 2008. McGuire stated that the trial will start on that date after jury selection.
- March 23, 2007: Attorneys defending Michael Addison planned to contest the use of capital punishment. That plan includes revisiting controversial issues about the law after a previous trial back in 1997 when a man convicted of murdering a police officer escaped the death penalty. In addition, the defense attorneys wanted to move Addison's trial to another courthouse that had stricter security in order to prevent the newspaper and television media from taking photographs of Addison while he is in prison and entering or leaving the courthouse. The defense's claim arose from the concern that photographs of Addison would complicate his right to a fair trial. The claim was opposed by prosecutors who wanted the trial to remain in Manchester and argued that moving Addison to a different courthouse would interfere with the trial. On April 13, 2007, the judge rejected the defense attorneys' request to move Addison's trial hearings to another courthouse on the grounds that the trial of Addison will not impact on jury selection and any images printed by the media would not change Addison's status as they were already published.
- April 27, 2007: Michael Addison was charged with armed robbery in relation of a robbery incident at a restaurant on October 10, 2006 which occurred during a string of crimes and before the October 16 shooting.
- May 31, 2007: Attorneys for Michael Addison stated that the New Hampshire Supreme Court should halt all proceedings due to claims of how the courts handled the death penalty case for Addison. These claims included that the court not impose the death penalty case at all or that it enact certain rules pertaining to how the courts would handle a death sentence.
- June 25, 2008: The trial court denied Addison's request for change of venue from the Superior Court in Manchester.
- July 1, 2008: The trial court granted Addison's request to bifurcate the sentencing portion of the trial, assuming a finding of guilt. Essentially, the determination by the jury regarding the death penalty will be made in two stages: first, whether the death penalty may be applied and, second, whether the death penalty should be applied or if life without parole is the proper sentence. The court made numerous decisions throughout the year that allow the death penalty to be presented to the jury.
- July 22, 2008: The trial court granted the defendant's motion to suppress his confession. It may not be used as evidence at trial in determining guilt.
- September 22, 2008: Jury selection begun.
- October 16, 2008: One day after the jury selection was completed, the Defense filed a motion renewing its request for a change of venue, asking the court to strike the panel chosen. The Court denied the motion.
- October 20, 2008: In opening arguments, the Defense admits to murdering Officer Briggs, but claims it was not "knowing" but "reckless" and thus Second Degree Murder, subject to life imprisonment, but not the death penalty.
- November 10, 2008: After 14 days of testimony, closing arguments are presented.
- November 13, 2008: The jury unanimously found Michael Addison guilty of capital murder at the Hillsborough Superior Court in Manchester.
- November 17, 2008: The jurors, charged with determining whether the convicted killer is eligible for the death penalty, said yes. However, they found that the State had not proven that Addison purposely murdered Officer Briggs.
- November 21, 2008: The defense team press their case that mitigating circumstances call for life in prison without possibility of parole as the sentencing phase opens.
- December 15, 2008: Final arguments presented in the sentencing phase. Jury deliberation begins.
- December 18, 2008: Jury sentences Addison to death by lethal injection.
- December 22, 2008: The judge imposes the death sentence, along with 63 years incarceration for the prior convictions stemming from the Addison/Bell-Rodgers crime spree in the week before the Officer Briggs murder.
- November 14, 2012: NH Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the appeal of the guilt, eligibility, and sentence selection phases of trial.
- April 10, 2013: NH Supreme Court announces a reduced oral argument calendar for the months of April, May, and June to allow the justices time to address the significant issues raised in the Addison appeal.
- November 6, 2013: NH Supreme Court announces its decision in the pending appeal. The unanimous opinion states in part, “With respect to the issues raised by the defendant on appeal, we find no reversible error. Accordingly, we affirm the defendant’s conviction for capital murder. Furthermore, we conclude that the sentence of death was not imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor, and that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s findings of aggravating circumstances. We note that our review of the defendant’s sentence is not yet complete. Only after additional briefing and oral argument on comparative proportionality under RSA 630:5, XI(c) will we conclude our review of the defendant’s sentence of death, at which time we will issue a further opinion.” As to the open question, the relevant statute reads, "XI. With regard to the sentence the supreme court shall determine: ...(c) Whether the sentence of death is excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering both the crime and the defendant."
The Manchester Police Patrolman's Association set up a charity fund for the Briggs family after the shooting. A charity set up the Portsmouth Police Department raised over $13,000 (2006 USD), while residents of Portsmouth raised over $1,000 (2006 USD). The Manchester Monarchs ice hockey team, in partnership with WGIR AM and FM radio, raised over $55,000 (2006 US$) through auctions. The president of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health gave the mayor of Manchester a $5,000 (2006 USD) check during a ceremony. The organization also set up a scholarship for the children of Michael Briggs which covers the tuition at the college in Manchester. The only report of a charity scam was from Boston; this resulted in two men being arrested. Police reports indicated that the men took advantage of Officer Briggs' murder by going around and asking for money for the Briggs family. About 62 people were reported being scammed by the perpetrators. Both men were charged with running the scam and impersonating police officers. Both men were also held on $10,000 (2006 USD) bail.
On October 21, 2006, family and friends of Michael Briggs and many others gathered at a memorial service held at the Lambert Funeral Home and later at the Merchantsauto.com Stadium after a long funeral procession through the city. Nearly 800-4,000 officers from across the state of New Hampshire were at the memorial service. Flowers and makeshift memorials were left at the police station as a tribute to Michael Briggs. The American Red Cross also attended the memorial service.
The funeral procession and memorial service closed down parts of Elm Street and suspended parking and meter restrictions (although some were reserved for the memorial service).
On January 27, 2007, the Manchester Police Department retired the badge number (number 83) of Officer Michael Briggs during a ceremony outside the police station. In addition to the retirement of Michael Briggs' badge number, the police department presented the family the flag that flew over the police station the day of Briggs' death and a plaque that has Briggs' picture on it which hangs on the front lobby of the police department.
On March 20, 2007, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats minor league baseball team announced that they will retire the number 83 in honor of Officer Briggs on May 21, 2007. The number will be retired next to the number of Jackie Robinson (which is 42). In addition, team members will wear special jerseys carrying the patch of the Manchester Police Department and Officer Briggs' badge number.
- United States Senator John E. Sununu of New Hampshire made a statement on October 17 saying, "Our law enforcement officers risk their lives on a daily basis for our safety. Officer Michael Briggs was no stranger to this duty, serving his country and community with bravery and courage until his tragic death." Sununu added, "Kitty and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to his family and are keeping all the members of the Manchester Police Department foremost in our thoughts at this difficult time."
- Senator Judd Gregg said in his news release that he and his wife expressed their condolences to the Briggs family and added that Officer Briggs dedicated his life protecting the nation and community and recognized that the Manchester Police Department had suffered a huge loss in the wake of the shooting.
- Governor of New Hampshire John Lynch released his statement saying that his and his wife's thoughts and prayers were with the Briggs family and stated that Officer Briggs' courage and commitment set an example to others. He also added that, "The murder of a police officer strikes at the very heart and fabric of our society. And I expect the state will prosecute the person responsible for this heinous and cowardly crime to the fullest extent of the law." Lynch also asked that all American and state flags be lowered to half staff in honor of Michael Briggs. Lynch also stated that he will give Attorney General Kelly Ayotte "full support" in seeking the death penalty for Michael Addison.
- The Mayor of Manchester, Frank Guinta, extended his condolences to the Briggs family and said, "I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and suffering they are going through at this time." He also extended condolences to the Manchester Police Department, fire department and the residents of Manchester. He asked that all flags be lowered to half staff the day after Briggs' funeral.
- Republican Congressman Jeb Bradley expressed sympathy for the Briggs family and stated that police officers put their lives on the line every day.
- Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte stated in an October 18 press release that the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee had approved $450,000 (2006 USD) in order to pursue a capital murder case against Michael Addison. She then stated, “On behalf of all New Hampshire law enforcement, my office, and myself, I express sincere appreciation to the members of the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee for acting so promptly and decisively to ensure that the Attorney General’s Office has the resources necessary to vigorously and effectively prosecute Michael Addison for the murder of Officer Briggs.” Ayotte added, “This action by our legislature demonstrates the commitment of our State to support the men and women of law enforcement who work hard every day to keep our communities safe.”
- On March 7, 2007, the New Hampshire state government passed a bill named "Michael's Law" on a 3–0 vote. The bill recommends the state of New Hampshire to pay $100,000 dollars (USD) to the families of any police officer or fire fighter killed on duty after October 1, 2006 and allows the state to buy insurance to cover cost benefit payments.
- A special commission studying the state's death penalty laws heard on December 4, 2009 that prosecutors in the Addison case ran up a $1.6 million bill and public defenders spent $1.1 million. Costs include forensics testing, expert witnesses, staff and attorney time and other items, Deputy Attorney General Orville "Bud" Fitch told the commission.
- On October 17, 2006, the wife of Michael Briggs released a statement about the loss of Officer Briggs and how Briggs loved his job serving with the Manchester Police Department she also stated that they were touched by the compassion from the community of Manchester and the support from Briggs' fellow police officers.
- Gene Robinson, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, stated in an article that appeared in the Concord Monitor on October 28 and 29 that the killing of Officer Michael Briggs was a horrible crime but criticized the death penalty case against Michael Addison.
- The number of neighborhood watch groups and programs in Manchester quickly rose (14 as of October 2006) in response to Officer Briggs' death.
- Members of the New Hampshire Troopers Association expressed their condolences to Briggs wife and children.
- Roger Amadon, the chief of the Epsom Police Department, for which Briggs had worked, stated that the officer's death was unfair.
The shooting, the police dragnet, the capture of the suspect, the time lag until the officer's death, the funeral, the extradition, all the hearings and trials that took place thereafter, to say nothing of the potential for the ultimate punishment have made for high drama for New Hampshire media buffs.
Many local and state news media outlets in New Hampshire and Massachusetts reported the death and memorial of Officer Briggs. Many local newspapers like the New Hampshire Union Leader had special coverage of the shooting and memorial on their websites. Other newspapers like the Portsmouth Herald, Boston Globe and the Washington Post also reported on the shooting and memorial of Michael Briggs.
Many television stations in New Hampshire also reported on the shooting and memorial of the fallen officer. One station, WMUR, televised the funeral procession and memorial service on October 21, 2006. However, a court ruling prohibited television and radio stations performing live broadcast of the murder trial (although one camera was allowed) according to a rule started by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 2004. WMUR petitioned that ruling, and on April 13, 2007 another court ruling stated that the pre-trial hearings could be broadcast on television on a one hour delay in case something unexpected occurs that cannot be televised. The local television station again petitioned for live, streaming coverage of the trial and the court granted their request over the defense team's objections, while limiting the scope of their coverage.
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- New Hampshire Troopers Association (2006). "NH Troopers Association". Archived from the original on 6 February 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
- Nicholas Brown (2006). "Murdered officer was Epsom native". Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
- Pat Grossmith (2006). "Woman who gave ride to Addison didn't know he was wanted man". Union Leader. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
- Union Leader (2007). "Union Leader Special Coverage on the 10/16/06 shooting". Archived from the original on November 13, 2006. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
- Washington Post (October 17, 2006). "Washington Post coverage on the shooting". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
- Associated Press (2006). "Court bans live audio, video of officer murder trial". Retrieved February 9, 2007.[dead link]
- Fox News (October 17, 2006). "Fox News coverage of the shooting". Retrieved February 9, 2007.
- Debra Daigle (2006). "Manchester Mourns Death of Police Officer Michael Briggs". National Public Radio. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
- Myspace.com (2006). "memorial site on Myspace.com". Retrieved February 9, 2007.
- YouTube (2006). "Officer Briggs Funeral on Youtube". Retrieved February 9, 2007.
- Suspect in shooting of police officer in New Hampshire is arrested at a home in Boston
- Police use GPS to find suspect's phone
- New Hampshire Cop-Shooting Suspect Arrested in Boston
- N.H. Shooting Suspect Arrested in Mass.
- Manchester, N.H. police commemorate fallen officer
- Geocities article on Michael Briggs[dead link]
- Hillsborough County (NH) Superior Court Case File