Derry Detective Michael Houle
Although law enforcement are trained to follow a code of conduct there are times when their zeal to secure a conviction compromises that code.
It would not be fair to assume this is a common practice because of a few “rotten apples” - corruption is the work of a few, dishonest, immoral officers. The following are examples of just that.
Under the Fourth Amendment, police officers must obtain written permission from a court of law to legally search a person and his or her property and seize evidence while they are investigating possible criminal activity. The exclusionary rule mandates that evidence obtained through illegal searches is not admissible in a court of law.
DETECTIVE HOULE CONDUCTED 3 SEARCHES WITHOUT WARRANTS
1st Search: 145 N Road Deerfield, NH
2nd Search: 7 Field Road Derry, NH
3rd Search: New Castle Condo
AUDIO OF DETECTIVE HOULE -TESTIFIES TO LOOKING THROUGH THE BACK DOOR OF CONDO.
08/18/05 Houle claimed he personally spoke with and received permission from Michael Connors to collect evidence.
TRUTH: Connors was in Las Vegas 8/18/05 according to evidence
provided by the State.
09/10/08 Houle testified in the John Brooks trial that he did not obtain search warrant or written or verbal consent.
Houle testified in the John Brooks and Robin Knight trials that he and Trooper Schena were invited into the private parking garage by construction workers.
07/30/08 Zwicker Letter by Assistant Attorney General Janice Rundles. State v. John Brooks. I would like to pass along to you and your co-counsel some new information we learned during witness preparation interviews with Derry Detective Michael Houle and Trooper Anthony Schena. Both officers informed us that, sometime around the end of July to the beginning of August, 2005, they went to your client’s Newcastle address.
08/28/08 Zwicker Letter by Janice Rundles. State v. John Brooks Trooper Schena has informed us that he does not remember going to the New Castle condo twice, nor does he remember the construction workers.
09/09/08 John Brooks’ Trial Judge Robert Lynn allows the State and defense attorneys to review credibility issues included in a Massachusetts State Police Internal Affairs Investigative report about three troopers including Trooper Anthony Schena.
AUDIO OF JUDGE SUMMARIZING
MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE
Note: The State DID NOT call Trooper Anthony Schena as a witness the following day as planned.
11/09/09 Jesse Brooks’ Trial. Derry Detective Michael Houle changed his story and testified that he observed the minivan by looking through the back door.
TRUTH: The back door to the condo does not have a window and never did. The garage door was solid wood with no windows until July 2011.
DERRY DETECTIVE MICHAEL HOULE DESTROYED PLASTIC EVIDENCE DURING THE INVESTIGATION
These are troubling allegations that reflect a violation of the public trust placed in all law enforcement officials.
08/05/05 Plastic provided to Detective Houle by a construction worker at 7 Field Road Derry, NH.
08/29/05 Houle testified he talked about plastic during a meeting with the Attorney General’s office and the
New Hampshire State Police. He told them that he thought the plastic at Connors property was similar to what he saw during the autopsy. (John Brooks trial 417-418)
09/10/08 Houle testified that he threw away plastic evidence after speaking with his supervisor, Sgt. Daniel Pelletier. (John Brooks trial 448)
AUDIO RECORDING OF NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE POLICE OFFICER FREDERICK LULKA BEING TOLD DET. HOULE THREW OUT PLASTIC EVIDENCE.
(John Brooks’ Trial)
Dr. Brent Turvey, Forensic Criminologist
DERRY CHIEF OF POLICE EDWARD GARONE FOUGHT A CONTENTIOUS BATTLE WITH THE PATROLMAN’S UNION TO HAVE MICHAEL HOULE REMOVED AS A DETECTIVE.
Houle had been the lead investigator for the Jack Reid case until the investigation was turned over to the NH State Police. Houle was demoted from his detective position 2 weeks before the John Brooks trial for “legitimate reasons for reassignment, which the board finds, are sufficient to avoid the charge of anti-union animus” according to Supreme Court Case # 2009-0384 (Page A-15).
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DETECTIVE MICHAEL HOULE’S TROUBLING STAFF EVALUATIONS EXHIBIT 8
Michael Houle’s Staff Evaluation Notations: Hot tampered, over bearing, close-minded, poor attitude, submitting reports months after investigation relying on scant notes and memory, thus potentially calling info - question their accuracy, there are occasions where his conclusions are not logically thought out so they are not on point or miss the point and Houle frequently circumvents the chain of command. Some technical det. skills for crime scene process.
“Captain Feole and Captain Thomas and many other supervisors in the Derry Police Department have serious concerns about promoting Officer Houle.” (p. 11)
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DETECTIVE MICHAEL HOULE FABRICATED OUTRIGHT LIES DURING THE MOST CRITICAL STAGE OF THE INVESTIGATION
Houle was providing input to the NH State Police and AG’s office according to NH State Police lead investigator Robert Estabrook’s 06/27/08 deposition. Click here to read.
Detective Houle told Michael Connors’ girlfriend Bonnie Dube in September 2005 that Joseph Vrooman was paid $10,000 to “whack” Jack Reid.
Note: Joseph Vrooman wasn’t arrested until November 2006. Detective Houle had obviously constructed a storyline of a $10,000 murder-for-hire narrative long before any arrests or interviews were ever conducted.
Derry Detective Houle and Det. Scaccia relayed information to Jack Reid’s relatives - Boston Detective, Frank Pomodoro and NYC Police Officer, Stephen Zic. Houle informed the Reid family that four small-time thugs currently residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, with lose ties to some unspecified organized crime group were responsible. The Reid family wrote the State May 3, 2006 asking for more information.
Note: Robin Knight, Joseph Vrooman, Michael Benton and John Brooks were not arrested until November 2006 so why was Houle providing such bizarre information?
DERRY POLICE DEPARTMENT WOULD NOT TURN OVER EVIDENCE
Police have a duty to disclose evidence. Derry Police defied a court order to turn over evidence and instead held the evidence for 2 years. They did not turn it over until the day of John Brooks’ trial.
08/12/05 Photos of Michael Connors’ Deerfield property that Houle withheld were
date-stamped 8/12/05 but yet he claimed he took the photos when he
was given permission to search the property 08/18/05. Houle also claimed
he collected evidence including twigs from a brush pile at that time.
09/26/05 Search Warrant.
Affidavit DOES NOT indicate that Houle collected twigs 08/18/05.
AUDIO RECORDINGS OF DERRY POLICE
(John Brooks’ Trial)
Note: Police were willing to take a scolding from the judge in order to get evidence in by surprise just as they had done with Joseph Vrooman’s lie detector test in the 11th hour.
SAMPLING OF POLICE PRESSURING WITNESSES.
What most people do not know is that police are allowed to pressure a suspect into confessing by claiming to have evidence of his/her’s guilt whether that information is true or not. Police are not, however allowed to coerce a suspect into confessing by threatening.
03/30/07 Dennis Chamberlain was horrified when police claimed they had information that he and Jack Reid stole the Penske truck - a Class A felony punishable by 7 1/2 - 15 years. Chamberlain already had a criminal history so he was more than willing to cooperate to avoid jail time. He was also angry with Jay Brooks for openly accusing him of the theft. He had nothing but good things to say about Jesse Brooks but he was committed to making a damning statement to satisfy police and save himself. Chamberlain was not charged with the theft in exchange for his testimony and while being escorted out of the courtroom he shouted, “When do I get paid?”
AUDIO RECORDINGS OF POLICE PRESSURING DENNIS CHAMBERLAIN
Dave Platania was interviewed by a defense investigator and gave a good interview. Shortly thereafter, NH State Police Officer Joseph Ebert proceeded to contact Platania more than 5 times and pressured him under duress for two hours in his own home with his wife and child in the apartment until he claimed he could not remember anything. The tactics used in the interview were nothing short of a threat. Even Platania himself recognized the tactics and called the detectives on it.
Audio recording of police pressuring Dave Platania
05/09/07 Laura Eori was interviewed by Troopers Encarnacao and John Sonia at the Billerica, Massachusetts Police Department. Laura testified at trial that she felt intimidated when the officers slammed their guns down on the table. She was chastised by prosecutor Janice Rundles for making that statement because the officers did not include that in their report yet Ms. Rundles was fully aware that they did in fact take their guns out and explained that to the Judge at sidebar (out of earshot of the jury).
Audio recording of police intimidating Laura Eori
THE STATE WITHHELD AN INCONCLUSIVE DNA EVIDENCE ANALYSIS REPORT
01/19/08 The State withheld an inconclusive DNA evidence analysis report. The report was turned over DURING John Brooks’ trial in Oct. 2008. New Hampshire prosecutors are required by law to disclose any evidence favorable to a defendant PRIOR to trial.
Audio of State withheld DNA evidence
LEAD INVESTIGATOR SGT. ESTABROOK AND PROSECUTOR JANICE RUNDLES SELECTIVELY CHOSE WHOM TO INTERVIEW TO SUPPORT THEIR CASE AND OMITTED THOSE WHO DID NOT.
Sampling of people not interviewed that were critical to the investigation:
Tom O’Reilly, Michael Benton’s employer at the time of his arrest. Michael Benton’s jail calls revealed that Tom knew more than he should according to Benton’s mother. She also mentioned that “they” gave him a heads-up because he does business with “them.” Note: Logo Loc LLC did silkscreening work for the Manchester Police Department.
Bartender at O’Aces Bar and Grill. This is where Joseph Vrooman claimed he met with John Brooks for (3) meetings all days apart before they left for New Hampshire. Vrooman testified to being a daily customer and spending all of his free time there when he wasn’t working.
Note: It is shocking they neglected to interview the bartender considering the number of times New Hampshire State Police and prosecutors made trips to Las Vegas and the fact that they interviewed the waitresses at O’Aces Bar and Grill. They also made sure to wait until Joseph Vrooman was at his regular haunt - the Spearmint Rhino Strip Club before they approached him in December 2005 to interview him but he declined. They went back again to conduct a lengthy and extraordinarily detailed interview November 2007 of dancer and stripper, Lolita Audino who claimed to be a regular customer of Vrooman’s - yet they overlooked the bartender.
LEAD INVESTIGATOR SGT. ROBERT ESTABROOK AND JANICE RUNDLES SELECTIVELY CHOSE WHAT EVIDENCE TO COLLECT AND WHAT EVIDENCE TO HIDE TO SUPPORT THEIR CASE.
Sampling of evidence not brought forward that was critical to the investigation:
Cell Tower Records for Jesse Brooks and whereabouts on June 16, 2005 - date of Vrooman's fabricated meeting.
Cell Tower Records for Michael Benton.
Airline Records for Robin Knight June 13, 2005 because it contradicted Vrooman’s fabricated bedroom meeting.
Michael Benton’s time card for work at Logo Loc on 06/24/05 - the day he claimed he initially took off from work when he gave his first interview.
Airline Records for Michael Benton and Sharon Jones for August 2005.
LONDONDERRY POLICE DEPARTMENT AND ROCKINGHAM COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS
05/22/08 Criminal Justice Bureau - AUDIO interviews turned over to defense.
Attorneys Allison Vachon and Richard Tracy of the Attorney General’s office conducted a thorough investigation into an incident involving Jesse Brooks having his skull fractured in 1996 and the ensuing aftermath. What they uncovered was blatant misconduct on the part of former Police Chief Joseph Ryan, former Rockingham County Attorney Bill Hart, Victim Advocate Carolann Jensen, former Victim Advocate Julie Daniele, and Investigator Tracy Connolly. Not a single one of them could explain their actions when presented with the supporting documents. Both Ryan and Hart expressed their anger toward Jay Brooks for having contacted Joseph LaPlante at the Attorney General’s office and former Congressman Bill Zeliff in 1996 when he couldn’t get any help from them. They retaliated at that time by going after Jesse - who was the victim in a deadly assault.
Note: The above interviews were conducted Jan - April 2008. On 03/06/08 Londonderry Police turned over their files to the Attorney General’s office. They revealed Chief Ryan had AGAIN TARGETED Jesse Brooks the day after the Penske truck theft despite the fact that he was living in California and unaware his father hadn't hired professional movers.
NOTE: NONE OF THE ABOVE DOCUMENTED MISCONDUCT WAS INTRODUCED AT TRIAL BY JESSE BROOKS’ LAWYERS WITH THE EXCEPTION OF LAURA EORI’S POLICE INTIMIDATION.