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Mother Of NH Man Convicted In Murder-For-Hire Plot Trying To Clear Son’s Name

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV
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The mother of Jesse Brooks, Lorraine Brooks addresses the crowd at a press conference. (Credit: WBZ's Carl Stevens)

The mother of Jesse Brooks, Lorraine Brooks addresses the crowd at a press conference. (Credit: WBZ’s Carl Stevens)

WBZ-TV's Michael Rosenfield Michael Rosenfield
Michael Rosenfield is the New Hampshire Bureau Chief for CBS Boston’s...
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MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) – A heartbroken mother, surrounded by a team of nationwide experts and private investigators, said today her son Jesse Brooks is behind bars because of ineffective counsel, and misconduct by the New Hampshire State Police and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

“Today I beg of you to listen to the miscarriage of justice that my son Jesse Brooks has suffered through,” said Lorraine Brooks.

Her hired team of experts, including Paul Ciolino, said there was much misconduct on the part of investigators.

“And there was such a degree of that in this case they may as well have hired Lance Armstrong as their speaker because it was lie after lie on top of lie,” said Ciolino.

Four people, including Jesse’s father, were convicted in the murder of handyman Jack Reid at a New Hampshire farm in 2005.

Jesse was convicted for allegedly taking part in a planning meeting to commit the crime.

But his team says Jesse has a clear alibi: he was in court and then at a doctor’s appointment and then at Walgreens when the alleged meeting happened. He says prosecutors should have known that and not gone after Jesse Brooks.

“Because if there’s no meeting, there’s no plot, there’s no conspiracy, it’s just that simple,” said Ciolino.

Stephen Moore, a retired FBI agent and part of the investigative team hired by Lorraine Brooks, said today “Jesse Brooks didn’t do anything.” Moore called Jesse’s alibi “rock solid”.

Jesse’s team of experts say Kelly Ayotte, then Attorney General, and her staff pursued Jesse for more convictions in a high-profile case and earn political mileage.

Lorraine Brooks has filed a motion for a new trial. Her son is currently serving up to 30 years in prison.

“Every mother must think their child is innocent when accused of a crime,” said Brooks. “I know such a crime is beyond Jesse’s nature.”

Ciolino and the investigative team were also critical of Assistant Attorney General Janice Rundles.

In an email to WBZ-TV today, Rundles wrote, “We are not commenting on the claims in the news conference. We have received a petition for writ of habeas corpus which alleges ineffective assistance of the defendant’s trial counsel, and we will be responding to the claims made therein with our own pleading in due course.”

State Police referred calls to the Attorney General’s office.

Regarding the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, Senator Ayotte, in an email response to WBZ-TV, said:  “That’s absurd. The charges against him were brought based on the evidence of the crimes he committed.”

At today’s press conference, a jail house phone call was played in which one of the defendants, Michael Benton, suggests to his mother that Jesse Brooks did not play a role in the crime, according to the hired investigators for Lorraine Brooks.

“I hope you take Jesse with ya,” said Benton’s mom on the phone call. “Because if you were involved in this I know it was Jesse that took you there.”

Benton replied, “No it wasn’t.”

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