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Court Hears Recordings In Murder-for-Hire Case

  • Maurice Temple listens to the judge during his arraignment in Claremont District Court on July, 28, 2017 in Claremont, N.H. Temple and his mother have been charged with principal/accomplice to attempt to commit murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Pauline Chase during her video arraignment in Claremont District Court on July, 28, 2017 in Claremont, N.H. Chase and her son have been charged with principal/accomplice to attempt to commit murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Monday, August 07, 2017

Claremont — Prosecutors played surreptitiously recorded conversations in court on Monday in an effort to demonstrate there is probable cause that Maurice Temple was part of an alleged murder-for-hire conspiracy with his mother, Pauline Chase, to have his ex-wife killed.

Meanwhile, Temple’s defense attorney argued that her client was not party to any conspiracy and thought he had been entrapped by police.

After 2½ hours of testimony on Monday in Claremont District Court, Temple’s probable cause hearing was continued until Thursday, when Plainfield resident Mark Horne could testify. Horne’s taped conversations with Chase and Temple are the prosecution’s primary evidence in the investigation, which came to light when the pair were arrested last month.

Assistant Sullivan County Prosecutor Justin Hersh objected on Monday to defense attorney Donna Brown’s request to have Horne, who cooperated with investigators, take the stand. Judge Jack Yazinski is expected to make a ruling on Thursday.

Temple, 63, and Chase, 83, both of Plainfield, each remain held on $1 million cash bail. They are charged with criminal solicitation of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempt to commit murder. Temple’s ex-wife, Jean Temple, is the Plainfield postmaster.

Plainfield Police Chief Paul Roberts testified at Maurice Temple’s hearing. Under questioning from Hersh, Roberts commented on the recordings and described a sequence of events that began in late June and culminated with the July 27 arrests of Chase and Temple.

According to Roberts, Horne heard at a retirement party that Maurice Temple was arrested June 23 on contempt of court charges involving his divorce settlement.

Horne later called Chase to discuss Temple’s arrest, according to Roberts. Horne knows Chase because he purchased property from her and makes monthly payments.

Roberts testified that Chase told Horne that police used excessive force on her son when they arrested him and she blamed his ex-wife for her son’s problems. Temple, who owns an excavating business, owes his ex-wife money from legal fees from the divorce.

“She needs to go down the river,” Chase allegedly told Horne, Roberts testified.

Chase asked Horne how much it would cost to get rid of her daughter-in-law, Roberts testified.

“If you can take care of this, I can take care of you,” Chase told Horne, who believed she was talking about murdering Jean Temple, Roberts testified.

Horne subsequently notified police, and authorities began recording phone calls Horne made to Chase in early July. In the recordings played at Monday’s hearing, Horne at times appears as though he is prodding the woman identified as Chase to pursue a plan to kill Jean Temple.

“If you want her dead, I can make it happen,” he said in a July 5 recording, often asking Chase if she wanted to go through with the murder. “Am I doing this or not doing this?”

Roberts testified Chase deducted $400 off the money Horne owed her for the property as an initial down payment to kill Jean Temple, and that appeared to be confirmed by a recorded conversation on July 3.

In the recordings, Horne asks a number of times if Maurice Temple is in agreement with the plan and Chase replies she is uncomfortable telling him.

The first recorded conversation with Maurice Temple was a video recording at Chase’s home on July 13.

“Did you talk to him about it? Does he know,” Horne asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Chase said.

When Temple arrives later in the recording, he is heard asking Horne if he is wearing a wire, and Horne denies it. Temple then said he is worried about going to jail again, according to the recording.

“If anything happens to her they are going to go right to me,” Temple said to Horne. “This could be a set up.”

“I’m for it Maurice,” Chase then can be heard saying. “She is money hungry. I want to be rid of her and so do you.”

“I don’t want to go to prison,” Temple said in reply.

In a second recorded phone conversation on July 13, a woman identified as Chase tells Horne, “(Maurice) is worried somebody will find out and put him in jail again.”

In a July 22 recording, Horne tells Chase he wants money ahead of time.

“I can give you $5,000,” Chase said.

“Cash?” asked Horne.

“Yes. It shows I’m serious and you are serious,” Chase said.

Horne then asked if Maurice Temple is still in agreement with the plan and Chase replied, “Oh, yeah.”

“$5,000?” Horne asks again.

“Right. And then she’ll be gone,” Chase said. “Boy, that’ll be great. When I see a picture of her gone, you’ll get the rest.”

Brown, the defense attorney, said the early conversations between Chase and Horne show that Temple was not aware of his mother’s plan and she was not inclined to inform him. Brown also pointed out that Temple was in jail when the first conversation was recorded on July 2.

“I’d rather not get him riled up,” Chase said about her son to Horne in a recorded conversation in early July. “He is upset having to do her in.”

Brown also pointed to several statements Chase made about her son in the recordings that she said demonstrate he was not part of any conspiracy.

At one point, the defense attorney said, Chase states she would not tell her son of the plot when Horne asked if he would be mad.

“She is afraid of Maurice because he is so against it,” Brown said to Roberts.

The police chief replied that this was not his interpretation of the July 5 recording.

“I never heard that,” he said.

“Maurice is not happy about it,” Brown said, characterizing her client’s state of mind. “You still don’t have any information that Maurice was part of any plan to kill Jean but you do have information he was not happy about it.”

“I don’t know what he was thinking about any of this,” Roberts said at one point.

Temple was present when the $5,000 down payment was given to Horne, who can be heard counting out $100 bills while a television blares in the background, and that Temple asked how the killing would be done.

In the recording, Horne, who said he would carry out the murder the last weekend in July, only promises a body won’t be found.

Brown said the tapes show her client was suspicious and not trusting of Horne and was not someone who was eager to be part of a plan to kill Jean Temple.

“You have a case against her but you don’t stop. He was being set up. That is what really happened,” Brown said.

Roberts denied police set Temple up.

Jean Temple and family members were in court but declined comment after the hearing.

The police affidavit in the case remains sealed.

If Yazinski finds probable cause, the case would move to Superior Court for possible indictment.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.

Plainfield resident Pauline Chase has not waived her right to a probable cause hearing. An earlier version of this story was incorrect on that point. The 83-year-old Chase, who is being held on $1 million cash bail, is due in court on Oct. 12 for a hearing on her competency to stand trial.