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New Hampshire

April 28, 2009

Pilot in Windham crash wants her plane back

SALEM — A Chester woman who crashed her ultralight into a house in February wants her plane back.

At a hearing in Salem District Court yesterday, Marjorie Venditti, 47, also asked that her husband, who is not a lawyer, be allowed to represent her at her trial June 2 on two misdemeanor charges.

"I find it upsetting that charges could be brought against me in this situation," Venditti wrote in a court motion. "I cannot afford an attorney at this time. I would not burden the state with the expense of providing one for me, and doubt I could trust the state to pay for an attorney that could work in my best interest."

A judge could rule on both issues today.

Venditti is scheduled for trial on counts of criminal mischief and reckless conduct, both Class A misdemeanors, each punishable by up to a year in jail.

Police said Venditti was indifferent to the safety of residents and was flying too low when she took off from a frozen Cobbett's Pond on Feb. 17 and crashed into an empty home at 19 Rocky Ridge Road.

Prosecutor Heather Newell is objecting to having the remnants of the airplane returned to Venditti, saying it needs to be maintained in its current condition because it could be used as evidence.

"The state is unsure whether she, her representative, or a defense expert would want to examine the plane and, as such, the state has a duty to preserve it for that purpose," Newell wrote.

In her court motion, Venditti described her ultralight as very fragile.

"It is made of balsa wood and fabric, and should have proper care," she wrote. "Although heavily damaged, it is built from plans and will have many useful parts. It is currently wasting valuable storage space and should come home with me right away."

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