Driver Guilty of Manslaughter
Claremont Man Sentenced for Killing One-Time Friend With Van
In Superior Court in Newport, N.H.on Aug., 16, 2013, Vicki Rock, a sister of victim Arthur Desilets, reads family statements while victim's advocate Joelle Donnelly comforts her. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
David Carrier Sr., looks at his family as he's ushered out of the courtroom after pleading guilty to manslaughter on Aug., 16, 2013, at Superior Court in Newport N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Family members of victim Arthur Desilets file out of the courtroom in Superior Court in Newport on Aug., 16, 2013. Family members left while David Carrier Sr. read his statement to the family in court. Carrier was pleading guilty to manslaughter. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport — A Claremont man who was charged with running over and killing his friend because he believed that he was having a relationship with with his estranged wife, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Sullivan County Superior Court Friday.
David Carrier Sr., was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison and about $1,700 in restitution to the victim’s family for recklessly killing Arthur Desilets, 45, of Claremont on April 7 last year.
In court on Friday, the 49-year-old Carrier wore a matching dark green collared shirt and pants. He uses a wheelchair as the result of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident a few years ago. Members of his family sat in the first two rows behind him.
On the opposite side of the court room was Desilets’ family, many of whom cried through the majority of the 40-minute sentencing hearing.
Before Carrier was formally sentenced Friday, Desilets’ sister, Vicki Rock, stood and read handwritten statements from Desilets’ widow, Tammy Desilets, and his sister, Lynn Godin.
“I hope that some day you can feel the pain that you have caused me and my family. I hope someone takes a family member away from you just like you took a family member away from us. You are an evil man,” Rock said, reading from the prepared statements.
Rock took a deep breath, then, through tears, read another statement by Godin, which said that no punishment that Carrier receives will be equal to what Desilets’ life was worth.
After Rock finished speaking, it was Carrier’s turn to make a statement. Usually when a defendant makes a statement, the victim’s family stays in the room, but Desilets’ family abruptly left and returned immediately after he finished.
Carrier addressed his statement to Desilets’ friends, family and children, although they were not in the room.
“I wish it was my own life that I took,” Carrier said through tears. “I can’t turn back time, but I can tell you that I’m sorry for my actions that they have caused you so much pain and suffering.”
He went on to say that he was dealing with his own problems at the time of the accident and he felt that his life had fallen apart. Not knowing how to deal with his own problems, he took it out on Desilets.
“I will live every day of my life knowing that I took the life of another person and a life-long friend,” he said.
During court testimony in prior months, Claremont Police Chief Alex Scott gave the following account of the events on April 7, 2012. Carrier, whose wife had filed for divorce two months earlier citing irreconcilable differences, allegedly ran over Desilets outside his Roosevelt Road home while Desilets was putting gasoline into a vehicle. He left the scene, parked the van at a nearby auto repair shop and left in an electric wheelchair. He next called his wife, Betty, told her what he had done and asked her to come pick him up.
The couple stopped by a friend’s house to obtain $400, but Carrier decided to turn himself into authorities after being urged to do so by his wife. Carrier, his wife and son, David Jr., drove to the police station in Charlestown where Carrier told officers that he had ‘lost it’ and ran over Desilets.
During the past 16 months, Carrier’s charge has gone from manslaughter, to two counts of second-degree murder, and then back to manslaughter as part of the plea agreement.
Carrier’s charge was upgraded in August 2012 when a Sullivan County Grand Jury indicted him on two counts of second-degree murder. Prosecutors had planned to use an “alternate theory,” which would have allowed them to present a jury with two scenarios. Ultimately, if Carrier’s case had gone to trial, he could have only been convicted on one charge and faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.
But in a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to reduce Carrier’s charge to manslaughter if he took responsibility and pleaded guilty.
During yesterday’s sentencing, Judge Brian Tucker asked Carrier flat out, “Are you pleading guilty because you are in fact guilty,” in which Carrier said, “Yes.”
After the hearing, both Carrier’s and Desilets’ families declined to comment.
One of Carrier’s attorneys, Caroline Smith, said after the hearing that the plea agreement was “appropriate under the circumstances.”
“We know and David acknowledges that this is a terrible tragedy for Artie’s family and he takes full responsibility,” Smith said.
Carrier has been ordered to be held without bail at the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord since October, and he returned there after the hearing.
Sarah Brubeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3223.