Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cop Killer Appears in Court

The following article was front page in today's NH Union Leader. I haven't talked about this at all because others who have done so have been pretty thorough in their coverage of this case. I expect that this will be read far and wide, and I'm doing my part here to make sure it does.

Officer's murder described in court hearing

By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI Union Leader Staff 13 hours, 36 minutes ago

MANCHESTER – Ordered to stop three times by a uniformed bicycle patrol officer in a well-lit alley last month, Michael K. "Stix" Addison waited until Officer Michael L. Briggs got within one foot of him when he wheeled around and fatally shot Briggs once in the head, police and prosecutors said yesterday.

"Officer Briggs yelled, 'Stop, police!'," Detective Lt. Nick Willard testified in a Manchester courtroom packed with more than 20 uniformed officers and relatives of the slain officer.
But Addison, 26, allegedly kept walking away on Litchfield Lane Oct. 16, his face covered by a red-hooded sweatshirt and his hands either folded in front of him or tucked in his shirt while his companion, Antoine "Twizz" Bell-Rogers, 21, obeyed the command and stopped, Willard said.

As Briggs, 35, closed in, Addison allegedly spun, raised a handgun and fired one round into the right side of Briggs' head just inches above his ear, and Briggs fell to the pavement, Willard said. Briggs' partner, Officer John Breckinridge, fired about four shots as Addison allegedly ran from sight, he said.

Later in police custody, Bell-Rogers called one of his girlfriends, who agreed to let police secretly record the conversation, and told her: "He had nothing to do with it and his boy, Stix, 'popped a cop','' Willard testified at the preliminary hearing in Manchester District Court.

"He said the police kept telling them to stop. He said, 'My man wasn't going to stop.' He indicated something like, 'You talking to me?' He said, 'My man spun ... and the cop dropped'," Willard continued.

But a tearful Addison -- facing a capital murder charge and possible death penalty -- later told Manchester detectives questioning him after his arrest in Boston that he "didn't want to be seen as a monster" and confessed he only shot toward the two officers pursuing him to scare them off so he could get away, Willard said.

"He stated that he knew he had a gun on him, he knew he had warrants on him. He stated that when he was ordered to stop, he spun around and he fired over his shoulder ... in the direction of the police officers in an effort to get them to back away while he made his escape," Willard said during the more than 90-minute probable cause hearing.

Judge William Lyons ruled the state presented sufficient evidence to find probable cause for capital murder in the shooting of the decorated officer and father of two sons, who died Oct. 17. The case now goes before a Hillsborough County Superior Court grand jury.

In charging Addison with capital murder, the state will seek the death penalty because, it claims, Addison knowingly killed Officer Briggs. Under state law, the murder of a police office is considered a capital crime, punishable by death.

Addison's alleged admission that he fired toward Briggs and his partner at about 2:45 a.m. came after Addison changed his story many times during three hours of questioning by Manchester police detectives, Willard said. Still, Willard acknowledged under cross-examination by public defender Donna Brown that Addison "never said he intended to kill Officer Briggs."
Public defender Richard C. Guerriero warned evidence heard yesterday "doesn't tell the entire story of what happened."

"There are two statements we agree with: Michael Addison was not out to kill anybody that night and the other one is Michael Addison is not a monster," Guerriero said shortly before Addison was escorted in leg and hand shackles from the courtroom to state prison in Concord, where he is being held without bail.

Addison, a thick-set man with a mustache and his black hair braided in tight rows, was allowed to have his hand shackles removed before the hearing so he could communicate with his attorneys through hand-written notes while five deputy sheriffs stood guard along the wall beside him.

Willard, the lead investigator in the case and sole witness to testify, said police recovered a cell phone and red-hooded sweatshirt in the alley and a .380 caliber handgun about six blocks away. The weapon had no fingerprints on it and is believed to belong to Bell-Rogers, Willard said. Ballistics testing showed the bullet recovered from Briggs' brain was fired from the handgun, he said.

Willard said police had arrest warrants for Addison and Bell-Rogers, both former Boston residents, the night of Briggs' murder for their alleged role in shooting up an east side apartment building at about 1:30 a.m., two days before the Briggs killing.

While Breckinridge was about 15 feet away from Addison when he allegedly shot Briggs, he could not positively identify Addison as the shooter because he could not see his face beneath the hooded sweatshirt, Willard said.

However, a man arrested at the 337 Lake Ave. apartment where police were called to a
domestic disturbance at about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 16 involving Bell-Rogers and Addison identified the two men on Litchfield Lane as Bell-Rogers and Addison, Willard said.

According to Willard, Jennifer Roman, one of Bell-Rogers' girlfriends, lives in the apartment with her mother, Mary Peters. After a fight broke out, Bell-Rogers and Addison left the apartment and a shot rang out in the hallway. The two men were gone when police arrived but they found Eric Robinson inside and arrested him on an outstanding warrant, placing him inside the police transport van.

Meanwhile, Bell-Rogers and Addison showed up at the apartment of Kelly Grady, another girlfriend of Bell-Rogers, at about 1:45 a.m., Willard said.

"They were in a hurry and out of breath," Willard said.

The men had a handgun that had been broken down into three pieces, which Addison hid in
Grady's underwear drawer, he said. When Grady told them to "get the gun and get out," Addison took the weapon, went into the bathroom and reassembled it.

"Stix put the gun in his waistband and put his red sweatshirt over it and the two left the apartment" at about 2:30 a.m., Willard said.

After Briggs and Breckinridge finished investigating the domestic disturbance at 337 Lake Ave., they rode north on Lincoln Street where they spotted two men matching the description of Addison and Bell-Rogers.

The officer driving the police transport van also spotted the men and pulled over on Lincoln Street where it meets Litchfield Lane.

Robinson, who was sitting in the back of the van near the window, told police he saw Addison and Bell-Rogers, whom he was with about an hour earlier at 337 Lake Ave., walk past the van in front of him into Litchfield Lane. Robinson watched the shooting unfold from inside the van, Willard said.

Meanwhile, Mary Peters told police she heard a series of gunshots and, shortly after, heard a "Nextel chirp" come over her daughter's cell phone.

Peters told police she heard a man's voice over the phone saying: "I just shot a cop. You're not going to see me for a while."

Peters asked her daughter, Jennifer Roman, if that was Bell-Rogers who called.

"She said, 'No, it's not ma. Mind your business,'" Willard said.

Addison showed up "out of breath" at the 420 Spruce St. apartment of his girlfriend, Jennifer Joseph, with a black duffel bag at about 5 a.m. Oct. 16.

"He told her the police were trying to stop him and he had a gun in his pocket and when he tried to run the gun went off," Willard continued. He said he had a "family emergency" and asked her to drive him to Boston.

Addison was arrested by Boston police at his grandmother's apartment in Dorchester, Mass., at about 5:30 p.m.

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