ALERT: Serial killer targeting registered sex offenders in New Hampshire

There is a serial killer at large in Keene, New Hampshire. The killer is targeting individuals whose names and addresses appear on New Hampshire’s Registry of Criminal Offenders and whose residences are pinpointed on the Keene Police Department’s online “CrimeReports” map. This killer has struck twice in the past three months, killing one man and severely maiming another. Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform is asking the State of New Hampshire and the City of Keene to take immediate steps to prevent further tragedy by taking down the State’s online sex offender registry and the City of Keene’s crime map until the killer is apprehended.

At about 8:30 PM on the evening of October 24, 2013, Walter Field was brutally attacked after answering a knock on the door of his Westmoreland farmhouse. Field was beaten so severely that he will need reconstructive facial surgery. State Police Sgt. Shawn M. Skahan is  quoted as saying the attacker made statements, overheard by Field’s  brother, that led police to conclude that a neighbor, who is a  registered sex offender, had been the intended target.

Then, at about 9:30 PM on December 22, David Wheelock was murdered in the kitchen of his Keene home. He was shot to death in his wheelchair after answering a knock at his door. David was listed on New Hampshire’s sex offender registry.

These are not the first New Hampshire citizens targeted because of the State’s decision to disseminate their personal information via the web. Nine years ago Lawrence Trant stabbed a registrant in Concord, left him for dead, and tried to burn two apartment buildings with seven former sex offenders among the tenants. Police found a printout of the State’s sex offender registry in Trant’s apartment, marked up like a hit list. Stephen Marshall of Nova Scotia killed two registrants in Maine in 2006. Like Trant, he found them online.  Evidence suggested Marshall had targeted New Hampshire registrants as well. Across the nation, at least 20 other sex offenders have been murdered precisely because the assailants found them on the registry and, according to published news articles, more than 400 other people convicted or accused of sex offenses have been slain in the past decade, some possibly targeted as registrants.

Experience in Maine, Washington State, and here in New Hampshire shows assailants who target individuals solely because of their listing on a sex offender registry have multiple victims. We at Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform believe that the State of New Hampshire must take responsibility for the safety of the citizens whose personal information it chooses to disseminate via the Department of Safety’s official website. The State of Maine temporarily took down its registry during Marshall’s killing spree to protect those individuals listed on it. Until this killer is apprehended, we ask New Hampshire to do likewise – take down the online Registry of Criminal Offenders. We also ask the City of Keene to remove its online “CrimeReports” map for the same duration. We believe failure to do so makes the City and State complicit in any further assaults on registrants, their families and their neighbors.

Jeremy J. Olson
Secretary, Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform
(603) 832-1555