Summary of Offense:
Was sentenced to die in December 2008 for murdering Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs in 2006.
Summary of Offense:
Was sentenced to die in December 2008 for murdering Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs in 2006.
Michael Addison was convicted Wednesday of robbing a customer at a Mexican restaurant in Manchester in October 2006, six days before prosecutors say Addison shot a city police officer.
Addison, 27, faces a capital murder charge in connection with the shooting death of Manchester Officer Michael Briggs. If convicted of that charge, Addison could face the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Briggs's shooting marked the end of a short crime spree for Addison that included robbing Alexander Paz, a customer at El Mexicano restaurant, on Oct. 10, 2006. Another man, Antoine Bell-Rogers, is on trial for holding up the restaurant's owner, Jose Rodriguez, at gunpoint. Bell-Rogers is also accused of firing a gun twice during the robbery. No one was injured.
Addison was previously convicted of armed robbery for robbing a Hudson 7-Eleven on Oct. 11, 2006. He was also convicted of two crimes in connection with a nonfatal Manchester apartment shooting that happened four days later. Addison was acquitted of possessing a firearm at that shooting.
The verdicts will likely come into play in Addison's capital case if he's convicted of killing Briggs, a 35-year-old Concord father of two.
State Attorney General Kelly Ayotte listed the crimes as aggravating factors in an official notice of her intent to seek the death penalty for Addison. Once a capital murder defendant is found guilty, prosecutors use aggravating factors to show jurors why he deserves death.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said Addison was convicted Wednesday of robbing Paz at knifepoint of $300 in cash and his cell phone. Paz, of Manchester, was the restaurant's only customer when Addison and Bell-Rogers showed up, Delker said. Addison, armed with an instrument resembling a box cutter, demanded money from Paz, he said.
Addison and Bell-Rogers decided to target El Mexicano because a third man, Jeffrey Hayes, knew the owner of the restaurant wore an expensive gold bracelet, Delker said. But to remove the bracelet required a special tool, and the two left the restaurant without it.
Hayes drove Addison and Bell-Rogers to El Mexicano in his grandmother's car, Delker said, but didn't go inside the restaurant.
Hayes was not charged in connection with the robbery. He pleaded guilty to two unrelated robberies and agreed to testify for the state. The jury returned a verdict in less than two hours.
Richard Guerriero, one of Addison's three public defenders, did not return a phone call.
Addison was formally convicted of armed robbery and being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon in connection with the El Mexicano robbery, Delker said. He has not yet been sentenced for those convictions or for the convictions relating to the 7-Eleven robbery and the apartment shooting. Delker said a judge will likely decide whether to sentence him before he stands trial for capital murder.
• Addison is being held in prison.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Defense lawyers for accused murderer Michael Addison are hoping that a series of expert witnesses can challenge the state's death penalty law.
Addison is facing a capital murder charge in connection with the 2007 shooting of Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs.
Thursday marked the start of a lengthy hearing on the statute.
Defense lawyers argued that race is a dominant issue in Addison's trial and called an expert witness who has studied the issue for nearly 20 years. "Black defendant, white victim cases were ones where the race of the jury was especially a factor in whether the outcome would be a life or death sentence," said Dr. William Bowers.
Bowers testified that his research shows that juries dominated by white men tend to impose death sentences more frequently than others
MANCHESTER – A city police officer's accused killer told friends he wasn't afraid to"pop a cop" to get them to think twice about chasing him and threatened to"1-8-7" any officer who approached him, referring to California street slang for murder, court motions revealed.
"If I see a badge I'm shooting," Michael K. Addison, 28, allegedly told one friend in the weeks prior to the October 2006 shooting death of bicycle patrol Officer Michael L. Briggs, 35. The comments are part of a defense motion that seeks to bar all Addison's alleged threats of violence toward police from being admitted as evidence at his capital murder trial.
The state argued that Addison consistently voiced his intention to kill a police officer and these statements should be admitted to prove the shooting was not a"completely unintentional act" as the defense claims, but that Addison had the criminal intent necessary to convict him of capital murder.
Addison repeated his plan to shoot any officer in at least four different conversations, the state alleged in motions made public yesterday.
"If I get stopped, it doesn't matter if it's a cop or whoever it is, if they try to stop me, I'm going to shoot at them. It doesn't matter," Addison allegedly told one friend shortly before Briggs' death.
The state alleges Addison shot Briggs to escape arrest. In the six days prior to Briggs' murder, Addison committed two armed robberies, was involved in a shooting and was a felon in possession of a firearm when Briggs caught up with him in a city alley early Oct. 16.
Documents also reveal the semi-automatic .380 caliber handgun Addison allegedly used to shoot Briggs once in the head not only was stolen, but was found nearby with a live round jammed in the chamber.
The Manchester detective who discovered the handgun in the yard of 453 Central St. said operator error appeared to be the reason for the gun jam. But a state police criminalist said this was unlikely and instead suggested the jam occurred when the gun hit the ground. Addison's defense team wants to exclude the city detective's opinion from trial.
Briggs and his partner, Officer John Breckinridge, were investigating a report of domestic violence involving a shot fired when they spotted Addison and his friend Antoine Bell-Rogers walk into Litchfield Lane. Bell-Rogers stopped when Briggs first told the men to"Stop, police!" But Addison allegedly kept walking until the officer got within a few feet of him. Addison then allegedly turned and fired one shot into Briggs' brain.
Addison pleaded innocent to capital murder. His trial begins in Hillsborough County Superior Court next month. If convicted, the state will seek the death penalty.
Other evidence Addison's public defenders want the court to rule inadmissible at trial include Addison's alleged gang ties, details of his lifestyle and physical evidence police obtained during searches of several apartments and a car.
The state is asking the court's permission to use Addison's alleged confession at trial should Addison testify in his defense and his testimony conflicts with his confession.
Judge Kathleen A. McGuire last month threw out the confession because police violated his Miranda rights by not immediately halting the interview when he asked for an attorney.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) ― A New Hampshire jury has convicted a man of murdering a police officer in a case that could result in the state's first execution in nearly 70 years.
Michael Addison, 28, showed no emotion as he was convicted Thursday of capital murder in the 2006 death of 35-year-old Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs, whose wife and two young sons were in the courtroom. The verdict came after 12 1/2 hours of deliberations spread over three days.
Many police officers who were present burst into tears or let out a sigh of relief when they heard the verdict. Briggs' wife, Laura Briggs, smiled after the jurors left and hugged the prosecutors.
The defense conceded that Addison shot Briggs but argued it was second-degree murder because he acted recklessly, not knowingly. Addison's lawyers left without commenting.
Prosecutors countered that Addison knew the police were after him and had told friends he would "pop a cop" if necessary to avoid arrest.
Jurors now must decide whether to sentence Addison to death or life in prison; they return to court on Monday to start that process.
Manchester Deputy Police Chief Gary Simmons said the department was relieved that this stage of the trial is over.
"We've been in the business long enough that we understand you have to wait and let the jury weigh things out on their own, and that's what they did," he said.
The state's first capital murder verdict since 1959 came last month in the murder-for-hire case of millionaire John Brooks. Last week, however, that jury spared Brooks the death penalty and voted to send him to prison for life with no chance for parole.
The state's last execution was in 1939.
The key question in Addison's case was whether he acted knowingly or recklessly when he fired the fatal shot 15 minutes before Briggs' shift ended.
The defense acknowledges that Addison, who lives in Manchester, shot Briggs, but said the act was reckless and unintentional. In closing arguments, defense lawyer Caroline Smith said the jury should convict Addison of the lesser crime of second-degree murder.
"He did not think," she said. "He acted, and he ran."
She said a second-degree murder conviction, punishable by up to life in prison, would not diminish the tragedy of Briggs' death.
Prosecutor Will Delker argued that Addison's statements and actions before, during and after the shooting show that he intended to kill.
"This crime didn't happen in an instant like the defense wants you to believe," he said. "The murder was just the final, fatal decision ... in a series of choices he made along the way."
"It was a foregone conclusion," Delker said.
The prosecution opened the trial with emotional testimony from a number of police officers who were at the scene. Briggs' bicycle patrol partner, Officer John Breckinridge, choked up on the stand as he recalled seeing Briggs fall after being shot.
Police were looking for Addison and his friend Antoine Bell-Rogers because they were suspects in a series of recent shootings and armed robberies. They found the pair in an alley around 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2006. Police testified that Briggs told them to stop three times before he was shot.
Prosecutors produced six witnesses who said they heard Addison threaten to use violence if he encountered the police, including saying he would "pop a cop." Challenged by the defense, many admitted lying to police when they were first interviewed, and some acknowledged striking deals with the state in exchange for their testimony.
The defense called five witnesses, all police officers, to rebut earlier testimony.
At the time of his arrest, Addison was described in court documents as an unemployed father of two children, ages 2 and 8.
In 2004, a federal judge in Massachusetts, which has no death penalty, designated New Hampshire as the site for the execution of a man convicted of a two-state killing spree in 2001. Gary Sampson, a drifter from Abington, Mass., is in a federal prison in Indiana while his case is on appeal.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Jurors have begun deliberating whether Michael Addison should receive the death penalty or life in prison for killing a Manchester police officer.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys gave their closing arguments to the jury on Monday. The same jury convicted Addison of shooting and killing Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs two years ago and found that Addison was eligible for the death penalty.
New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte told the jury that shooting a police officer is such a severe crime, the only sentence Addison deserves is death. Ayotte urged the jury to think of Briggs and his family when choosing life in prison or death. She pointed to Addison's long history of violent crime and said his rocky childhood should not be considered.
"A life sentence doesn't do justice in this case," she said. "It just doesn't do justice."
At one point, Ayotte berated Addison for not showing emotion during the tearful testimony of Briggs relatives. She walked over to the defense table and pointed at Addison as she told the jury that he never showed emotion for his crime.
"It was very difficult for all of us. All of us, except for one person," Ayotte said. "It wasn't too difficult for him, was it? He didn't shed one tear."
The defense argued that the state wrongly paints the case in black and white, and that Addison's life is complicated by a troubled childhood. Lawyer Richard Guerriero reminded the jury that Addison will die in prison regardless of its sentence. He asked the jury to look at Addison not as a monster whose life should be extinguished, but as a human being.
"Let's be clear about exactly what you're being asked to do," Guerriero said. "You're being asked to extinguish the life of another human being."
After the prosecution's emotional closing, Guerriero asked jurors to put emotion aside when they deliberate.
"You can't make this decision based on emotion," he said. "A decision that you can live with the rest of your life, the decision that is the right decision under the law, a decision that will do justice is not an emotional decision."
During the final phase of the trial, jurors heard from relatives of Briggs and Addison. Briggs' wife, Laura Briggs, was the first to take the stand. She described police knocking on her door on Oct. 16, 2006.
"You could just tell by the look on their faces things weren't good," she said.
Prosecution witnesses talked about Michael Briggs' family life and the impact his death has and will have on his two sons.
Many defense witnesses spoke of Addison's childhood.
"Michael was family," said Lucious Addison, Michael Addison's adoptive father. "I love Michael."
But the defense revealed a stark difference in backgrounds. Witnesses talked at length about Addison's mother, who was an alcoholic, and the other violence that surrounded him.
After the judge gave final instructions to jurors, they began deliberating at about 2:45 p.m.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Gov. John Lynch says the capital murder and death penalty verdicts for the man who killed a Manchester, N.H., police officer are just.
Lynch said murdering a police officer strikes at the heart and fabric of our society, and a capital murder charge is appropriate.
A jury said this morning that Michael Addison should be executed for killing Officer Michael Brigss two years ago.
The governor also said he would veto any attempt to repeal or modify the capital murder law.
AG says N.H. death penalty bill aids killer
Attorney General Kelly Ayotte warned lawmakers Tuesday that repealing New Hampshire's death penalty would mean Michael Addison's death sentence for the murder of a police officer would be lost on appeal.
"If the Legislature makes the decision to repeal the death penalty, Michael Addison, in my view, would not be sentenced to death," Ayotte told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ayotte said lawmakers could try to carve out an exception for Addison, but "there is no question in my mind it would impact the case."
Addison was sentenced to die in December for murdering Manchester police officer Michael Briggs in 2006. The death sentence, which Addison is appealing, was New Hampshire's first in 50 years. The state's last execution was in 1939.
Last month, the House voted 193-174 to repeal capital punishment. Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, immediately said he would veto the bill if it reached his desk.
Full story http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20090415-NEWS-904150365
Filing: Be meticulous in review of death penalty
Brief says Addison case research costly
Two death penalty experts from outside New Hampshire have petitioned the state's supreme court, arguing that the justices should seek more funding and hire a special consultant to help it adjudicate Michael Addison's capital appeal.
Addison, who was found guilty last year in the murder of Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs, is the first New Hampshire man to receive a death sentence in nearly 50 years.
Under state law, the Supreme Court must automatically review Addison's sentence to determine whether it is proportional to the sentences imposed for similar crimes and to ensure that it was not decided due to arbitrary factors. Addison's lawyers have also notified the court of their intention to appeal Addison's conviction and sentence on many other grounds.
The brief filed yesterday was submitted by Manchester lawyer Andru Volinksy on behalf of Deborah Portiz, the former chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and Carol Steiker, a Harvard law professor who has studied the application of the death penalty in the U.S.
Because Addison's is the first death penalty case in recent years, and the first under the state's current capital murder statute, there is no precedent for how the court will consider whether Addison's sentence is disproportionate or arbitrary.
"How the court does it in this case is going to be the role model," Volinsky said in an interview.
In the filing, those experts argue that the best way to decide whether Addison's punishment is fair is to compare it to a broad group of other murder cases in New Hampshire, none of which resulted in a death sentence. They suggest that the court compare the case with other capital cases, first-degree murder cases and some second-degree murder cases. That analysis, they argue, requires special resources.
"The Court is not presently equipped to proceed with its statutory mandate," the brief says. "The Court should gather data and it should do so by means of a thorough and transparent process that is worthy of the respect of the parties and the public."
The brief recommends that the justices request special appropriations and that it hire a social scientist to gather information about relevant cases and compile a database of these cases features.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker, who represents the state in the appeal, said the state will not comment on the filing until it does so in a formal court pleading.
Addison's lawyers have suggested that the justices examine an even larger pool of cases, including capital and noncapital murder prosecutions from other states. The state has said that the justices should limit their review to New Hampshire cases.
The court has not yet ruled on what sorts of cases it may consider, or how it will conduct such an analysis. Addison's lawyers previously asked for special rules to help define the appellate process, but the justices rejected that request, finding that its normal appellate procedures were adequate. But in oral arguments on that issue, the justices suggested that they would entertain suggestions about the best method to conduct its analysis
NH high court to weigh fairness of death penalty
CONCORD – With a convict on death row for the first time in nearly 40 years, the New Hampshire Supreme Court must fashion a method for weighing the fairness of his sentence.
Lawyers for Michael Addison and the state will present arguments to the court Wednesday as part of the review mandated by law of all death penalty cases. Addison would be the first person executed in New Hampshire since 1939.
The Supreme Court has yet to rule on Addison's appeal of his capital murder conviction or the underlying robberies that made him a wanted man the day in 2006 when Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs tried to arrest him and Addison shot him in the head.
What the lawyers will argue Wednesday and the justices will ultimately rule on is the procedure to be used for evaluating the fairness of his death sentence, should those convictions be upheld.
Addison's lawyers argue his case must be compared to all death penalty-eligible cases in this state and others, as a test of whether racial bias or other factors influenced his sentence. Addison is black; Briggs was white.
The state counters his case should be compared only to other cases nationwide in which the convict shot an on-duty police officer, calling such an act "an assault on society itself." Prosecutors cite 49 cases between 2000-2009.
The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police and several other law enforcement organizations filed a brief urging the court to avoid a complicated statistical analysis and examine only Addison's case and whether the verdict was justified.
"The race card is largely undercut in this case, because the foreman of the jury was also an African American," Attorney Charles Douglas III wrote for the law enforcement agencies.
The state Supreme Court arguments mark the first time the state's highest court has considered how to measure capital punishment in this modern era of the death penalty. New Hampshire's last execution took place in 1939. The two men on death row here when the U.S. Supreme Court deemed death penalty schemes nationwide to be unconstitutional in 1972 had their sentences commuted to life in prison.
"It will establish the law not just in this case but for future cases as well," Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said of the case, which he will argue Wednesday.
Addison's lawyers say any weighing process should include the contract murder conviction of John Brooks, who was spared a death sentence by a jury in 2008. Brooks was a wealthy white man convicted of plotting and paying for the murder of a handyman he suspected of stealing from him.
They also want the court to review all New Hampshire cases that were eligible for a death penalty, including the case of Gordon Perry, who shot to death Epsom Police Officer Jeremy Charron in 1997 but agreed to a plea bargain and sentence of life without possibility of parole.
Prosecutors counter the cases should be narrowly defined by the circumstances of the crime.
"The ultimate issue is whether the jurors considered the information presented to them in a thorough, even-handed and dispassionate way," Delker wrote, in the state's brief.
Addison's lawyers scoff at the notion of using the 49 cases cited by the state, saying 37 of the cases are from southern states where the death penalty is far more prevalent.
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said New Hampshire is "a state to watch in terms of the death penalty."
"If nobody else is getting the death penalty, there's certainly a question," Dieter said. "You just don't compare it to other death sentences, because there are none."
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