EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 25, 2013

New trial requested for Jesse Brooks


The motive was pretty simple. John Brooks believed Reid had stolen some of his belongings from a moving truck in 2003. He spent the next two years plotting Reid’s death.

Carter backed away from the plan, but Benton helped John Brooks bludgeon Reid with the sledgehammer after he was lured to the Deerfield barn.

They wrapped Reid’s body in plastic and left it in the back of his own truck in a parking lot in Saugus, Mass.

There were other players, too, also convicted.

Vrooman, of Whitville, Tenn., cut a deal with prosecutors and testified against Jesse Brooks. He was sentenced to 17 and a half to 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit capital murder and hindering apprehension.

Robin Knight of North Hampton was convicted of accomplice to first- and second-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

Benton and Vrooman both struck plea deals with prosecutors. Benton, of Manchester, was given 33 years to life in state prison for pleading guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit capital murder.

Vrooman, Benton and Knight were all present for Reid’s murder, but only Benton and John Brooks struck the 57-year-old man with the sledgehammer.

Jesse Brooks’s trial lasted more than three weeks and the jury deliberated for more than 10 hours before delivering the verdict: guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.

As the jury filed out, Jesse Brooks shook his head, then turned and waved to his mother and other relatives before being led from the courtroom.

He appealed his conviction to the state Supreme Court, an appeal rejected in late 2011.

“Jesse now spends his days in an 8-by-6-foot Arizona state prison cell which is bitterly cold in the winter and can reach 117 degrees in summer,” the website states. “Jesse has not, however, given up hope for a promise of a life.”

His mother hopes to give him just that.

Staff writer Jo-Anne MacKenzie contributed to this report.




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