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July 2, 2014

Canobie Lake Park melee caught on tape

Probable cause hearing for Vermont father, sons lasts hours in Canobie Lake Park melee case

SALEM — Few four-minute family videos have been watched so many times by so many people.

Defendants, lawyers, the judge, family members and court observers watched over and over again yesterday a video clip from surveillance cameras at Canobie Lake Park.

Police prosecutor Jason Grosky and three defense lawyers stopped and started the clip, rewound, pointed out individuals on the courtroom screen, and grilled a Salem police officer who spent hours on the witness stand.

Three members of the Perry family from the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont sat, shackled and handcuffed, at the front of the courtroom throughout.

The three — E. Alan Perry, 45, Brian Perry, 18, and Joshua Perry, 23 — have been in the county jail since a family outing to Canobie Lake Park last month went terribly wrong.

Two other family members, 18-year-old Damian Perry and Joshua Perry’s 20-year-old wife Ashley, also were charged on June 16, but were not held. They were in the courtroom yesterday, along with a handful of other relatives and family friends.

The three men jailed were in 10th Circuit Court again yesterday for probable cause hearings, hoping to have their bail — set at $10,000 cash each — reduced.

Probable cause hearings are often waived at this level or, if held, are very brief. The proceeding yesterday was exceptional in many ways, not the least of which was the length of time it took to transpire.

It started before the three Perry men ever appeared in the courtroom, with court staff and lawyers trying to figure out how to arrange tables and chairs to fit all three defendants and their three lawyers on one side of the courtroom.

In the end, after some four hours of testimony, the three men were herded back into a county sheriff’s van and returned to Brentwood, destined to spend Independence Day in the county jail.

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