Suspect in 1989 NH fire deaths indicted

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davidmcleod Suspect in 1989 NH fire deaths indicted

A California man accused of killing a Keene family in an apartment house fire 21 years ago has been indicted on four counts of second-degree murder.

David McLeod of West Sacramento, Calif., was indicted this week in Cheshire County Superior Court. His arrest June 30 was the first resulting from New Hampshire’s new cold case unit, which was created last year to review the state’s more than 100 unsolved homicides and suspicious deaths.

McLeod is accused of setting the fire that killed Carl and Lori Hina, their 4-month-old daughter, Lillian, and Carl Hina’s 12-year-old daughter, Sara, in January 1989. At least nine people told Keene police at the time that McLeod had either threatened to burn down the building or bragged about having done so, but some believed he was drunk and ranting to get attention.

Another witness refused to give a sworn statement and showed up drunk to a grand jury proceeding, according to police documents released earlier this month. McLeod left the state soon after the fire and has lived in California for about 15 years.

The indictments allege that McLeod acted recklessly in causing the family’s death. Prosecutors have said the Hinas were not targeted.

According to police documents, an FBI arson profiler told investigators the fire was a means for McLeod to exact revenge against people who lived in the building and had beaten or insulted him, including a former girlfriend. McLeod lived in a neighboring town at the time and had once lived in the building where the fire was set.

The ex-girlfriend told investigators this year she didn’t report threats McLeod made to burn down the building weeks before the fire because she didn’t believe him.

McLeod is being held without bail, but has requested a bail hearing in late August, Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said Friday.

After McLeod’s arrest, his family issued a statement saying they were confident of his innocence, and expressed hope New Hampshire authorities would “sort out what we feel is a misunderstanding.”

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