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Man Charged in N.H. Cold Case Murder Attended Mascoma High

FILE - This combo of January 1995 file booking photos shows murder suspect Craig Conkey, 28, of Lexington, Mass.  Conkey faces charges in connection to the rape and murder of Mary Lou Sale, whose body was found in her Lexington home Dec. 6, 1994.  On Tuesday, July 23, 2013 the New Hampshire Attorney General's office announced that it is charging Conkey with the 1991 murder of Theresa Reed in her Plymouth, NH apartment.

(AP Photo)

FILE - This combo of January 1995 file booking photos shows murder suspect Craig Conkey, 28, of Lexington, Mass. Conkey faces charges in connection to the rape and murder of Mary Lou Sale, whose body was found in her Lexington home Dec. 6, 1994. On Tuesday, July 23, 2013 the New Hampshire Attorney General's office announced that it is charging Conkey with the 1991 murder of Theresa Reed in her Plymouth, NH apartment. (AP Photo)

Dorchester — A Massachusetts inmate who grew up in the Mascoma Valley is charged with the murder of a Plymouth woman more than two decades ago and will be arraigned on Aug. 5 in Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill.

Craig Conkey, 46, who is currently serving a life sentence for the 1994 murder of a 49-year-old Massachusetts woman, had been indicted last week, the New Hampshire Attorney General's office said Tuesday. He is alleged to have killed Theresa Reed, a 30-year-old registrar assistant at Plymouth State College who was found dead of multiple stab wounds in 1991, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The New Hampshire Cold Case Unit reopened the case last year and presented it Friday to a grand jury, which indicted Conkey on charges of first-degree murder, alleging that he killed Reed during a burglary.

Boston attorney Bernard Grossberg said he has a client named Craig Conkey who is serving two life sentences for killing women in Lexington, Mass., the Associated Press reported. Grossberg told AP that his client contacted New Hampshire authorities last year about his involvement in “a very old homicide” in the state. But no one had informed him that his client has been charged in New Hampshire, Grossberg said.

Conkey, who is incarcerated in Shirley, Mass., grew up in Dorchester, and was a member of the class of 1985 at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, friends and neighbors said Wednesday.

John and Pat Franz, a couple who live on Route 118 in Dorchester, remember Conkey as a polite young teenager who loved to fish and would walk down the street with his rod and bucket.

“And he would have it full of fish whenever he returned,” John Franz, a former Dorchester selectman, said in a phone interview.

John Franz said he once asked Conkey how he was so successful at catching fish.

“You just have to react the moment they touch the line,” Conkey had told him. “Well, that’s easier said than done,” he replied.

He was a smart, lean kid who would brazenly walk around in just a short-sleeved shirt during the fall, John Franz said.

The news of the charges against Conkey — in the ‘90s and now — is surprising, he said, because the youth he knew “was always polite, always a gentleman and always pleasant.”

His wife, Pat Franz, said she taught fifth- and- sixth grade language arts and social studies to Conkey at Canaan Elementary School.

Whenever Conkey walked to his fishing hole, he would carry whatever book he was reading at the time, she recalled. Sometimes, he would stop in and talk.

“What I mostly remember is that he loved to read,” Pat Franz said. “He was kind of quiet. He was an ordinary guy.”

Patrick Andrew, superintendent of the Mascoma Valley Regional School District, confirmed Wednesday that a student by the name of Craig Conkey, who would be 46 years old this year, was a member of the class of 1985 at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. He said he couldn’t identify whether that individual is the same one who has been charged.

But other Mascoma High students from the time say that they recall Conkey, if vaguely.

Gerry Stark, a member of the class of 1985 and now a realtor in West Lebanon, said in telephone interview that Conkey attended Mascoma High at the same time he did. Stark said he couldn’t recall if Conkey graduated, and didn’t associate with him much.

“He’s not somebody who I ran in the same circles with,” Stark said. “I can’t say I spoke more than 10 words to him.”

Stark said he saw Conkey’s picture in Tuesday’s newspaper and believed it was his old classmate. He was surprised at how much Conkey’s appearance had changed.

“I couldn’t even recognize him,” Stark said. “He looks so different.”

Attempts to get in touch with Conkey’s family yesterday were unsuccessful.

Zack Peterson can be reached at 603-727-3211 or zpeterson@vnews.com.

CORRECTION

This article has been amended to correct an earlier error. The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office announced on Tuesday that a grand jury had indicted Craig Conkey, who grew up in Dorchester, in the killing of a Plymouth, N.H., woman in 1991. The indictment procedure was described incorrectly in an earlier version of this story.

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