Distracted suspect faces triple murder charges in N.H. court

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CONWAY, N.H. (AP) – A day after nonchalantly telling reporters he killed three people, a Maine man was scolded for paying attention to the news cameras and spectators instead of the judge while appearing in a New Hampshire court to face formal charges on Friday.

Michael Woodbury continued to speak his mind, chiding court security officers, interrupting his lawyer and addressing the judge during his brief arraignment in Northern Carroll County District Court on three counts of first degree murder.

“Hey, slow down bro,” a shackled Woodbury said to officers walking him into the courtroom.

He drew a rebuke from Judge Pamela Albee as he fidgeted and craned over his shoulder to look at news cameras and the crowd behind him as she was reading the charges.

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“Mr. Woodbury, I’m right here,” Albee said. “You may look at me.”

Family members of some of the victims also were in the courtroom, crying and consoling each other as they saw the accused killer in person for the first time.

The day before, Woodbury caused a sensation when he spoke to reporters as officers led him to and from a Maine courthouse, saying he shot three men at a Conway outdoors store because they interfered as he robbed the store, then blamed Maine prison officials for releasing him without supervision or help.

According to authorities, Woodbury committed the shootings less than two months after maxing out a five-year Maine State Prison sentence for theft. Between his May 4 release and the shootings July 2, authorities say Woodbury hit the road, heading south on a crime spree through several states that included a bank robbery in South Carolina, burglary and arson in Georgia, car theft in Kentucky and armed robbery in Tennessee.

Woodbury told reporters on Thursday he warned officials he was a threat to re-offend after being released, even writing a four-page manifesto to a prison therapist telling her “about how this (expletive) was going to crack like this.”

Woodbury said prison officials were unresponsive: “They told me, ‘We don’t give a (expletive).’ They were just like, ‘whatever, leave.”‘

Maine prison officials say Woodbury had access to mental health and other services while in prison, but their responsibility to him ended with his release because he was not on probation.

Woodbury continued his opinionated streak on Friday as he provided Albee a handwritten note listing some concerns.

“In my opinion, it’s a little too close to the action. There’s various people there with a personal interest,” Woodbury said as the note was handed over to Albee, who said she would pass it to corrections officials.

Assistant Attorney General Karen Huntress said the note contained complaints but would not give specifics.

Woodbury also jumped in when his public defender unsuccessfully asked for access to sealed investigation documents – taking the other side.

“We’ll drop that issue. They win,” Woodbury said aloud.

The shootings Monday at the Army Barracks store took the lives of store manager James Walker, 34, of Denmark, Maine, William Jones, 25, of Walpole, Mass., and Gary Jones, 23, of Plymouth, Mass.

Walker left a wife, a 1-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. His wife, Tessa Walker, manages an Army Barracks store in Scarborough. The Massachusetts men were not related. They had been hiking and had stopped at the outdoors gear shop on their way home.

“They were fun-loving boys, hardworking boys. They were like brothers. It was just a coincidence their last name was Jones,” said Kenny Jones, William Jones’ father. “We came up here to see the person that did this to our son,” Jones said.

“We are going to miss them dearly,” he added.

Woodbury was arrested Tuesday, walking along railroad tracks in Fryeburg, a few miles from Conway. It was on his way into a fugitive from justice arraignment in South Paris, that he first spoke to reporters waiting outside.

“Unfortunately, I did,” Woodbury said when asked if he shot the men.

Asked why, Woodbury answered he “needed the money.”

Huntress was less forthcoming to reporters on Friday, declining to comment on nearly all aspects of the case.

“Because this is an active and ongoing investigation, we’re not going to comment factually about the substantive details of this investigation,” she said.

Asked whether prosecutors will use Woodbury’s admission against him, she avoided answering directly.

“When we take a case to trial we look at the totality of the evidence,” Huntress said.

AP-ES-07-06-07 1358EDT

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