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October 2, 2012

Bank robber sentenced for hitting Windham officer

Getaway driver sentenced for striking Windham officer


McKeen walked into the b

ank about 4:30 p.m. and demanded money from a teller. He received $865, got into the green Dodge Avenger driven by Pickering and they sped off.

Police began pursuing the car when Windham Officer Scott Rogers saw the vehicle head down Route 111. Rogers commandeered a civilian vehicle and began pursuit.

More officers joined the chase as Pickering turned on to Interstate 93. Pickering allegedly swerved at and hit Dzierlatka while trying to avoid a tire-deflation device the officer placed on the highway.

With two tires deflated, Pickering continued down I-93 south at speeds of about 90 mph. Pickering and McKeen eventually abandoned the car in Dracut, where they were tackled and shot with Tasers by New Hampshire State Police and Salem police.

The three-day trial began Thursday before Judge N. William Delker and included testimony from law officers involved in the case. Closing arguments took place Friday and the jury began deliberating about 10 a.m. yesterday. Pickering did not testify during the trial.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton while Pickering was represented by attorney Neil Reardon.

Reardon said although he was disappointed in the jury’s verdict, he was glad Pickering was found not guilty on the two criminal threatening charges. The charges, each punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison, alleged Pickering’s actions threatened the safety of two other police officers.

Reardon said that since his client had already been convicted, he should not have to face a second set of charges in the case.

“In my opinion, why should he be sentenced two times for the same offenses?” Reardon said.

Rockingham County Attorney James Reams said he is pleased with the verdict.

“I am glad that the criminal case is over for Officer Dzierlatka,” he said. “The entire event was difficult for all of the officers involved and serves as another reminder of how quickly police work can become deadly or life threatening. Fortunately, Officer Dzierlatka and his family can go forward now and not think about Clint Pickering again.”

A sentencing date has not been set.

Pickering has a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for theft, larceny, drug possession and possession of a dangerous weapon (knives).

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