Man sentenced to 15 years for 2014 beating death of friend in Nashua
NASHUA - The man at the center of a Nashua manslaughter case nearly two years old was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years behind bars.
Thomas Smith will serve between 15 and 36 years assuming he complies with alcohol and drug rehabilitation, the Attorney General's office said. If not, the sentence could be extended.
Smith pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter and three other felony offenses in the 2014 beating death of his friend Craig Guillemette.
The argument happened night of Nov. 29, 2014, with Nashua’s annual Holiday Stroll just a few blocks away.
“The assault on Craig was the third homicide in a five day period,” said Assistant Attorney General, Patrick Queenan.
The Attorney General’s office said that witnesses remember hearing the brawl between Guillemette and Smith - who ran in the same circle of friends. Both were dealing with alcohol and drug addiction, and a fight between the two led to Guillemette’s death at the hand of Smith.
“They’ve traveled up from Massachusetts to support Craig,” said Queenan referencing the Guillemette family in court. “He was their little brother, and they want justice for Craig. They believe a 15-year sentence is appropriate based on the circumstances.”
Investigators recalled racing through the crowded streets to find evidence of the victim’s whereabouts the night of the assault. Four days later, Guillemette died in a Boston Hospital.
On Wednesday, Smith apologized.
“I also want to say to Craig’s family that I am truly truly sorry, and I hope that one day you guys would be able to forgive me for this," he said. “Because no matter what because I have to live with this for the rest of my life knowing that I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life."
The judge agree with the 15-year sentence and said he hoped it would change the trajectory of Smith's life.
“They’ve lost Craig but they have the ability to be compassionate with you,” Judge Charles Temple said.
The judge mandated that drug and alcohol rehab is mandatory for Smith who left the courtroom winking and blowing a kiss to family.
The Guillemette family said that they were aware of Craig's similar struggle with addiction and that they hope Smith gets clean.
Smith also pleaded guilty to two counts of witness tampering and one count of falsifying physical evidence.