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Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to First-Degree Murder of Mother at Hospital

  • Travis Frink, of Warwick, Rhode Island, stands with his attorney, Public Defender Rebecca McKinnon, during his arraignment in Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Sept. 13, 2017. Frink, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 70-year-old mother, Pamela Ferriere, on Tuesday in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. (AP Photo/Valley News, Jennifer Hauck)

  • Associate Attorney General Jane Young speaks to the media after the arraignment of Travis Frink at Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Sept. 13, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, September 14, 2017

North Haverhill — A Rhode Island man accused of shooting and killing his 70-year-old mother while she was being treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s intensive care unit on Tuesday afternoon was ordered held without bail during a Wednesday appearance in Grafton County Superior Court.

Travis Frink, 48, of Warwick, R.I., pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Pamela Ferriere, of Groton, N.H. The charge carries a sentence of life in prison.

Shackled and wearing a red shirt with striped pants, Frink was arraigned before Judge Lawrence MacLeod on Wednesday afternoon. He was silent for much of the proceeding, but whispered at times to his public defender, Rebecca McKinnon.

In addition to him being held at the Grafton County jail, MacLeod also ordered that Frink have no contact with his stepfather, Robert Ferriere, who was present during the shooting.

McKinnon declined to comment after the arraignment on Wednesday. Outside of the courthouse, Associate Attorney General Jane Young told reporters that she would not be releasing further information about the case.

In an affidavit, police alleged Frink “admitted” to the shooting when questioned on Tuesday night.

Pamela Ferriere was shot four times, and died after suffering wounds to her chest, abdomen and pelvis, according to autopsy results released by the state Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday evening.

Ferriere was admitted to DHMC a couple of weeks ago after suffering an aneurysm, but was due to be released on Friday, according to the affidavit filed by New Hampshire Sate Police Sgt. Mary Bonilla.

Frink, who previously had visited his mother during her stay, drove to the hospital from Rhode Island on Tuesday, the affidavit said. He signed into the hospital’s visitor’s desk around 1:15 p.m. before making his way to the intensive care unit on the fourth floor.

Robert Ferriere told police he was in the room when Frink arrived and asked for some time alone with his mother.

Pamela Ferriere OK’d the request, according to the affidavit, and Robert Ferriere began to leave the room when “he heard Pamela Ferriere shout or scream something,” the affidavit said. When he looked back into the room, Robert Ferriere told police, he saw Frink point a gun at Pamela Ferriere and fire several shots.

“Frink did not say a word,” the affidavit said. “Frink put the gun in a bag he had been holding and walked by Robert Ferriere without saying a word.”

Lebanon police received the first 911 call at 1:24 p.m. from DHMC nurse Lauren Wojtonik, who told dispatchers that a male visitor had taken out a black handgun.

Wojtonik had been Pamela Ferriere’s nurse for the past two weeks, according to the affidavit.

She told investigators she saw Frink come into the hospital room with a small duffle bag.

She turned to see Frink aiming a handgun with both hands at Pamela Ferriere, at which time Wojtonik ran from the room to seek cover. She said she heard shots ring out, followed by screams.

Police from both New Hampshire and Vermont responded to the hospital in force, closing off access roads and beginning a sweep of the building.

The hospital issued a shelter in place order to staff around 2 p.m.; other staff members and patients were evacuated across Mount Support Road into DHMC’s administrative buildings.

Frink was apprehended by Canaan and Lebanon officers shortly before 3 p.m. Witnesses said officers pulled him out of a silver Ford Escape at the intersection of Lahaye Drive and Mount Support Road before taking him away in a police cruiser.

Hospital employees were allowed back into the building to retrieve belongings around 5:45 p.m., and DHMC was operating as usual on Wednesday morning.

Frink is the father of three boys, according to 69-year-old Thomas R. Frink, of Moosup, Conn., who told The Providence (R.I.) Journal that he was Frink’s uncle.

Thomas Frink told the Journal that he last saw his nephew in January after learning Frink was engaged, but said he had never met his fiancee.

His nephew also is “really into karate,” Thomas Frink told the newspaper, adding he wasn’t aware of Frink having any violent tendencies or conflict with his mother.

Frink, who served in the Marines, last worked as a computer programmer at United Natural Foods, an organic and specialty food distributor in Providence, R.I., according to his LinkedIn page.

In 2013, the bodies of his ex-wife and her 3-year-old son were found inside a running car at a Warwick, R.I., apartment complex, according to the Associated Press.

Officials said Kathleen Frink’s body was found in the driver’s seat and her son’s body was found on the floor in the back of the car.

Police suspected alcohol played a role in the deaths, the AP reported, but ruled out foul play.

Pamela Ferriere was active in her community of Groton, N.H., a town of roughly 650 residents that borders Dorchester. She spent several years serving as one of the town’s supervisors of the checklist.

“Pamela was a very, very sweet and kind woman, the kind you don’t want to have anything awful happen to,” said Sherry Nelson, a neighbor of the Ferrieres, on Wednesday.

Both Robert and Pamela Ferriere visited the area on weekends while living in Connecticut before they retired and moved to Groton about seven years ago, Nelson said.

“She loved gardening. Both of them loved outside,” she remembered, adding that the couple were avid hikers in the White Mountains.

Pamela Ferriere also gave much of her time to others, she said, spending one day a week at an Alzheimer’s charity and assisting with secretarial work in the town offices.

A Wednesday news release from Groton Town Clerk Ruth Millett said Ferriere was “a wonderful woman” who was active in both her church and community.

“She loved gardening, walking and biking with her husband,” the release said. “She will be greatly missed by her husband and family and by all who knew and loved her.”

Liz Sauchelli contributed to this report. Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.