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Apr 17, 2016 12:31 PM

Hopkinton man seeks to have his murder sentence suspended

CONCORD (AP) - A New Hampshire man who got away with murder for 20 years now wants his sentence reduced to the 10 years he's already served.

Eric Windhurst, 48, of Hopkinton was 17 when he fatally shot a friend's stepfather, Danny Paquette, after the friend told him that Paquette had sexually abused her. Windhurst shot Paquette outside his Hooksett home in 1985.

Windhurst pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2006 and was sentenced to 15 to 36 years. He has petitioned to have the balance of his sentence suspended. A hearing is set for April 21.

Paquette's stepdaughter, Melanie Cooper, provided information leading to Windhurst's 2005 arrest. Her three- to six-year sentence was reduced to 15 months. She was released in 2008.

Windhurst's lawyer argues that he should be freed as well, saying Cooper manipulated him into killing Paquette.

Prosecutors strongly oppose Windhurst's release.

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