DOVER — Dressed in a red polo shirt, tan pants and white shoes with his hands and feet shackled, the 17-year-old Farmington male accused of killing a Marine last year made his first public court appearance Thursday in Strafford County Superior Court.
James Belyea, who looks his age, spent most of his time in a nearby conference room guarded by deputy sheriffs while he waited for his case to be called.
More than an hour after his scheduled time, Belyea was led in the courtroom to face a judge on first and second-degree murder charges for allegedly killing 33-year-old James LaPrade by a gunshot to the head on March 15, 2017 when he was 15 years old. He has also been charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting his mother, Denise Belyea, on the same day. Both events occurred at LaPrade’s home on Oakwood Road in Farmington. A grand jury indicted him on the charges last month.
Belyea waived arraignment through his public defender Cynthia Robinson and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Judge Mark Howard approved an agreement that kept Belyea held without bail at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester, and Belyea was soon led out of the courtroom.
While it’s the first public court appearance for Belyea, it’s likely not his first in the case. A juvenile, now presumed to be Belyea, was arraigned on charges related to the incident the day after LaPrade’s death in a Rochester District Court. But the person and what events occurred in court were confidential because the proceedings were under seal. An assistant Attorney General working on the case at the time told WMUR that the AG would seek to certify the suspect as an adult.
The grand jury indictment last month was the first public evidence that Belyea was indeed certified as an adult.
Belyea is expected back in court in the coming months for a dispositional conference.
©2018 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)
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