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Apr 19, 2016 8:39 AM

Former NH sheriff candidate indicted on assault charge involving sledgehammer

BRENTWOOD — A former candidate for Rockingham County sheriff was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly “prodding” another man in the back with a sledgehammer.

The Union-Leader reported David Lovejoy, 51, of Portsmouth, is facing a misdemeanor count of simple assault in connection with his Jan. 5 confrontation with Keith Vedrani, 41, of Amesbury, Mass. Lovejoy faces up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted.

Vedrani was also charged with simple assault by mutual consent, a violation-level offense.

An indictment made public on Monday indicated that Lovejoy allegedly caused “unprivileged physical contact” to Vedrani with a sledgehammer by “prodding” him during a Jan. 5 altercation at a North Hampton business, The Union-Leader reported.

Police said earlier that Lovejoy allegedly hit Vedrani in the back with a sledgehammer and grabbed him from behind during a fight. A court complaint says the two men “mutually” agreed to fight each other, and that Vedrani punched Lovejoy in the face.

Lovejoy has had previous run-ins with the law. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to a disorderly conduct charge, a violation-level offense, for an altercation with an East Kingston farmer. The man had removed a campaign sign while Lovejoy was running for sheriff in 2010. Police said the two men had a disagreement about whether the sign had been placed on state or private property.

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