Mass. man found guilty in Hampstead home invasion
BRENTWOOD - A jury has reached a verdict in the trial against a man charged with breaking into the home of a retired Hampstead gun collector.
Abraham DePaula, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, was found guilty on all charges in connection with the case - including several counts of theft and burglary.
The verdict on the home invasion and attack, where he left a man and his female friend tied up with electrical wire, was reached after about two weeks of testimony.
The victims were not seen inside the courtroom as the verdict was read.
Prosecutors said they believe DePaula was part of a four-man team that rang up a series of home invasions in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire during 2011.
Two of the other men charged in the burglary already pleaded guilty, but DePaula maintained his innocence right up to the end, saying he was at a hospital in Lawrence while his son was being born during the theft.
DePaula chose to take the stand during his trial, and he was questioned regarding a completely separate murder case that happened in Manchester about a week after the Hampstead incident.
Prosecutors said cell phone data placed DePaula at the scene of that murder. But his defense attorney told the jury that shouldn't influence this unconnected case.
After the verdict was read, he said he was disappointed, and he thinks the Manchester incident may have had an influence on their decision.
"Oh I'm certain that it did," said lawyer Roger Chadwick. "If I were on that jury it would play a role for me to hear that someone may have been involved in other things. I asked the jury to remember that in the United States of America, we do not convict people based on other things that they may have done. The evidence that they needed to consider was the evidence in this case."
But prosecutors told NH1 News that the jury reached the right decision and got justice for the victims.
"We're very happy, especially for the victims," said Deputy County Attorney Patricia LaFrance. "They were just so incredibly brave coming here and telling about what had been done to them on that horrific day. So we're very thankful for them that we were able to get this verdict."
DePaula will be sentenced over the next 60 days.