DANVILLE, N.H. (AP) – A Vermont judge has released new details in the case of a New Hampshire tenant accused of striking his landlord in the head with an ax-like object as many as 16 times.

Paul McDonald, 49, of Danville, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Richard Wilcox, 54, on June 11 or 12.

McDonald allegedly fled the scene of the crime in his landlord’s new Toyota Tacoma, according to an arrest warrant.

He then pretended to be Wilcox and traded the truck for a 1994 pickup truck, a 1978 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and $3,200 from a Barrington auto sales dealer.

McDonald, who has a criminal history, told police after he traded Wilcox’s truck he drove to a bridge in Portsmouth and considered jumping off. He decided against it for his son’s sake.

An alert was issued for McDonald on June 13. He was apprehended in Hubbardton, Vt., on June 18.

McDonald told police he woke up the night of June 11 or the following morning in a living room chair. He said Wilcox was trying to perform a sexual act on him. McDonald said he became enraged and beat Wilcox with his fists.

After Wilcox was dead, McDonald said he tried to clean up but was overwhelmed. He told police he put Wilcox’s body in the corner of the basement and covered it with a tarp.

An autopsy revealed Wilcox died from multiple “chop” wounds to the head. He had bruises and abrasions consistent with a struggle.

Danville police found Wilcox’s body during a well-being check at his home on June 13. They found blood spattered in at least five rooms of the house. They also found a knife handle with an apparent broken blade near the driveway.

Neighbors said Wilcox had lived at the house about 15 years. One of them, Richard Downer, said Wilcox called him about two weeks ago before his death and said he had rented a room to a man who had at one point threatened him. He didn’t know the man’s name.

Downer said Wilcox told him he was trying to get the tenant out of his house.

Patricia Raymond told police McDonald had rented a unit at Kingston Self Storage. She said he had been there two weeks earlier.

“McDonald was mad at his landlord because his landlord would not allow him to have guests, would not allow his son to stay over, and he thought that whenever he left the residence, the landlord would rifle through his belongings,” Raymond told police, according to the warrant.

After McDonald was arrested on a fugitive from justice charge in Vermont, he waived extradition to New Hampshire. He also waived a probable cause hearing in Plaistow District Court earlier this week and remains jailed without bail.

At the time of his arrest, he was facing a two to four-year prison sentence on an outstanding forgery case.

A Vermont judge unsealed arrest and search warrants in the case Thursday after a receiving a request from The Rutland Herald.



Information from: Eagle Tribune, http://www.eagletribune.com

AP-ES-07-04-08 1133EDT


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