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Newport man pleads not guilty to shooting neighbor during property dispute

  • As court officers take their seats, Oliver Renehan, 58, of Newport, N.H., looks to his fiancee as he arrives for his arraignment in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport on July 25, 2019. Renehan was charged in the shooting of a neighbor following a dispute the night before over toy boats in their shared driveway. At right is Renehan's attorney Tony Hutchins. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Paula Cain, of Newport, N.H., reacts to the reading of the indictment of her fiance Oliver Renehan in Sullivan Superior Court in Newport, N.H., on July 25, 2019. Cain was injured in a dispute with neighbors the night before over toy boats in their shared driveway. Renehan was charged in the shooting of neighbor Kevin Nottage III. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Photographed on July 25, 2019, a dispute over toy boats in a shared driveway on South Main Street in Newport, N.H., the night before resulted in guns drawn, one neighbor in the hospital and another held in jail. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway speaks about the fifth shooting in Newport, N.H., since Dec. 2018 following the arraignment of Oliver Renehan, of Newport, in Sullivan Superior Court on July 25, 2019, who allegedgly shot his neighbor in a dispute over toy boats in their shared driveway. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/25/2019 10:07:50 AM
Modified: 7/26/2019 2:50:51 PM

NEWPORT — A 24-year-old Newport man is recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg, and his 58-year-old neighbor is facing allegations of shooting at him during a physical altercation that included other members of their households on Wednesday night.

New Hampshire Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker on Thursday afternoon ordered Oliver Renehan held without bail through the weekend, until a hearing on the evidence can be scheduled.

During an arraignment at the Sullivan County Courthouse, Renehan, a Dartmouth College custodian with no previous criminal record, pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree assault and first-degree attempted assault with a deadly weapon against Kevin Nottage III.

Nottage, who was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center after the shooting, lives with two other adults and two pre-teen children in a rental house at 220 S. Main St., also known as State Route 10. The residence shares a driveway with the house at 214 S. Main, where Renehan lives with his fiancee, 57-year-old Paula Cain.

Wednesday’s fracas was the latest — and the second involving gunplay — in what police and Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway described as an ongoing quarrel between the neighbors.

In an affidavit to the court from the three Newport Police patrolmen who responded to the scene, the sides disputed each other’s accounts of how the incident started, including an allegation that Renehan put his .45-caliber pistol to the head of Nottage’s housemate, who was fighting Cain in the driveway.

Hathaway did not rule out charges against other people involved.

“We’re going to review all of the statements again,” Hathaway said after the arraignment. “It is a dynamic and ongoing investigation.”

In the affidavit, Officer Josh Boone reported that the fight began shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday. Cain, while pulling her SUV into the shared driveway, hit a plastic toy boat that belonged to one of the children at 220 S. Main. Valerie Ellsey, one of Nottage’s housemates, told Boone that when she went out to move the boat out of the way, Cain approached her “with a firearm in her hand.” Cain, in her interview, claimed that the pistol fell out of her pocket.

“Ellsey said she wasn’t sure what Cain was going to do with the gun, so she punched Cain in the face,” the affidavit continues. “Cain dropped the gun and Ellsey and Cain were fighting on the ground (when) Renehan came out of his house with a firearm as well.”

The affidavit reports that Ellsey’s son, Jeremy Dipesa, and Nottage also came out of 220 S. Main to investigate. Ellsey said Renehan threatened all of them and fired a warning shot into the woods behind his house before shooting Nottage in the leg.

Renehan, in turn, told police that he confronted Nottage after he found Nottage joining Ellsey in attacking Cain, who appeared in court Thursday with a large bruise under her right eye.

Hathaway told the judge that further investigation, after the affidavit was printed, revealed that Renehan’s first shot hit Nottage in the leg and that the second flew past the combatants and into 220 S. Main.

Citing that new evidence, Hathaway argued against releasing Renehan on personal recognizance, as his public defender, Tony Hutchins, requested.

During the arraignment, Hutchins said Renehan had lived at 214 S. Main for 19 years, and had no issues with his neighbors until about three years ago. Hutchins added that during a previous dispute Cain “was assaulted by these people,” leaving Renehan worried about her safety.

Hutchins pointed to Renehan’s lack of a criminal record — he owns a permit for the gun — and to his long association with the community, including 25 years working as a custodian at Grantham Village School.”

“He’s known around town,” Hutchins said. “He’s known as a good, peaceable man.”

Wednesday’s shooting was at least the fifth incident since December involving firearms in Newport, which is home to about 6,500 residents.

Hathaway described the recent shootings as “an unfortunate trend,” but added, “I think there is a pattern that is not isolated to Newport. We’re seeing an increase of violence, of use of firearms, in general around the state.”

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.




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