'A liar, a load of laundry and a lack of physical evidence is the state's case,' says Moulton attorney
Published DateOSSIPEE — The trial of an Albany man charged with attempted murder resumed on Tuesday after having been postponed since the winter.
Richard Moulton, 62, of 5 Moulton Drive in Albany, is charged with attempted murder and two counts of assault for allegedly stabbing Ronald Routhier, 52, in the head and the back at around 5:40 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2011 at Trailside Drive. Moulton is also being charged with witness tampering for allegedly threatening Routhier and his family if he told anyone about the attack.
Moulton's case went to trial in January but the court case had to be ended prematurely because of an issue between the county attorney's office and the public defender's office. At the time, public defender Jesse Friedman asked judge Steven Houran to issue an order for deputy county attorney Susan Boone to clarify what she heard in a conversation between Routhier and the victim witness advocate.
On Wednesday, the trial resumed with a new jury. The new jury was taken on a tour of the alleged crime scene and surrounding area, which includes several residential cabins and a wooded campground. The scene is near Olson's Moto Works on Route 16. Lawyers on both sides reminded the jury that the scene looked different in winter of 2011.
Before the site walk began, Moulton's dog, Suzy, came running up to him. The little dog also greeted the jurors who arrived to the scene in a big yellow school bus.
The jury also heard opening statements from both sides on Wednesday. Public defender John Bresaw stressed that Routhier told a 9-1-1 dispatcher and later a sheriff's deputy that he accidentally fell on a knife. Further, Bresaw said there was no physical evidence to support the state's assertions.
"A liar, a load of laundry, and a lack of physical evidence is the state's case," said Bresaw.
During county attorney Tom Dewhurst's opening statement, he made reference to a load of laundry in Moulton's wash that smelled of bleach. Bresaw said there wasn't evidence of blood on the clothing.
Dewhurst alleged that Moulton tried to lure Routhier out to an old brown camper where the murder was to take place. Moulton allegedly told Routhier he needed help moving something heavy. Moulton lived in a residential cabin across Moulton Drive from Routhier, who was renting from Moulton and was months behind on the rent.
According to Dewhurst, Routhier stepped into the cabin and then saw Mouton reach into his pocket. At that point, Routhier got nervous, pushed Moulton aside and attempted to flee.
"He didn't get far before he tripped and fell," said Dewhurst.
Then, Moulton allegedly began beating, stabbing and choking Routhier. Inside the brown camper, authorities found a big sheet of plastic, bags and gorilla tape — presumably for disposing of a body.
While on the stand, Routhier said he often performed odd jobs for Moulton to help make up for being months behind on the rent. During the night of the attack, Routhier said Moulton asked for help moving something bulky. At the time, Moulton was trying lawful methods to evict Routhier.
Routhier said when he caught Moulton reaching for a long object, Moulton looked at him like a deer in headlights. Routhier said he ran about 20 to 30 feet before Moulton caught him. Routhier recalled being strangled and beat and while trying to hold Moutlon's knife at bay.
Routhier resumes his testimony at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
The trial was supposed to start on Tuesday, but there were various delays because judge Houran had to juggle cases in Grafton and Coos counties. In apologizing to the jury, Houran added he's the only superior court judge on duty in those counties.