We have temporarily lifted the paywall on all stories on our website and our e-edition.
•  All of our local coronavirus coverage is online at
•  Subscribe, advertise or sign up for our daily newsletter.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Alleged shooter asks to leave jail

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/3/2019 10:09:27 PM
Modified: 9/3/2019 10:09:20 PM

NEWPORT — A Superior Court judge later this week will decide whether an 80-year-old Newport man can reside at the Sullivan County Nursing Home while awaiting trial on charges alleging he shot at his caregiver in July.

Kenneth Rickard, who is currently being held without bail at the Sullivan County House of Corrections, is in ailing health and jail staff have “repeatedly raised” concerns about Rickard’s ability to remain safely housed at the jail, his attorney, Gary Apfel, wrote in an eight-page motion to amend Rickard’s conditions of release.

The Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services assessed Rickard and found that his doctor has diagnosed him with palsy, a condition that comes with “some element of dementia or confusion,” and that he is “totally dependent” on others for basic care, the motion filed on Aug. 27 said.

Rickard is wheelchair-bound, must have his food pureed and fed to him and requires help using the toilet, Apfel wrote.

He currently remains in isolation at the jail for his own protection and is checked on by staff every 15 minutes, but even that hasn’t kept him safe as he has fallen at least three times, with each incident requiring outside medical attention, the motion said.

“Captain (Joseph) Brookens has advised undersigned counsel that the footprint of the facility is not designed to house individuals with Mr. Rickard’s care and treatment concerns,” Apfel wrote, adding that the jail has hired additional staff who would otherwise work at the nursing home to help Rickard.

The Sullivan County Nursing Home on Aug. 23 approved Rickard’s application to become a resident of that facility, but Deputy Sullivan County Attorney Justin Hersh objects to Rickard’s transfer at this time, according to Apfel’s motion.

Public safety concerns remain, Hersh wrote in an email to Apfel, according to court documents.

Rickard allegedly fired a handgun at his 48-year-old live-in caregiver on July 1 because he was jealous that she might have a new boyfriend, according to police.

The caregiver was not harmed.

“Mobility issues did not prevent him from obtaining a firearm, nor did it allegedly prevent him from discharging it multiple times,” Hersh wrote. “His mental state was of such that he was able to obtain a firearm, use it in a manner that has the potential to do great harm and he had the mental wherewithal to elect not to speak with law enforcement. Such thought processes suggest that he is capable of purposeful action.”

Firearms are not kept at the nursing home, Rickard would not leave the facility and he would be in the constant presence of staff, Apfel wrote. 

Rickard, who has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and criminal threatening with a deadly weapon, has a bail hearing scheduled for Thursday in the Newport courthouse.

He has remained incarcerated since his July 1 arrest.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at or 603-727-3248

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy