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Plea Hearing Scheduled for Perriello

NOTE: To read the Tuesday morning update, click here.

Newport — James Perriello, the Grantham man charged with killing his wife in 2012, has a plea hearing scheduled for this morning.

Perriello’s plea hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Sullivan County Superior Court, said his public defender Kimberly Kossick, who declined to elaborate on the details of the plea agreement. Sentencing would be held at a later date.

Kossick and Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin met briefly behind closed doors at the courthouse on Monday. Minutes later, they emerged and went to the court clerk’s office to finalize the schedule for the hearing.

Strelzin declined to comment on Monday.

The Sullivan County grand jury indicted Perriello, 42, on both first- and second-degree murder charges. Authorities allege he shot his wife, Natalie Perriello, six times in April 2012 at their Doc’s Drive home. The couple’s four children were home at the time.

James Perriello’s defense team retained a mental health expert who evaluated Perriello while in prison, according to court documents.

Natalie Perriello was a Lebanon High School teacher, and police records show that she and her husband both retained attorneys in the weeks before the April 2012 shooting and were planning to divorce.

James Perriello told police after he was arrested outside his home in April 2012 that he “lost his cool” after listening to a surreptitious recording he had made of his wife talking to a former student with whom she had developed a romantic relationship.

James Perriello called 911 around 9:50 p.m. on April 26 and reported he had shot his wife. He told police that his wife rushed toward him after he entered their bedroom and his .40-caliber pistol fired accidentally. An autopsy showed that most the bullets entered the back of Natalie Perriello’s head and the pistol had two safety features, according to court documents.

James Perriello’s parents declined to comment for this story.

A voicemail left for Bob LaFlam Jr., Natalie Perriello’s brother, who has acted as a spokesman on behalf of his family, was not returned Monday evening.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

CORRECTION

James Perriello was incarcerated following his arrest in the Special Housing Unit, the maximum security unit in the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord. An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the nature of the unit in which he was housed.