EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 31, 2012

Brooks's murder conviction upheld

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CONCORD (AP) — The New Hampshire State Supreme Court has upheld the capital murder conviction of a former millionaire serving two life sentences for hiring people to beat a handyman to death.

A lawyer for John Brooks said his client’s rights were violated when a judge authenticated documents by use of affidavits, rather than live testimony. He also argued defense lawyers didn’t have the chance to cross-examine the people who signed off on the documents — phone and travel records placed into evidence.

The court ruled yesterday Brooks’ lawyer didn’t establish that Brooks’ rights were violated.

The court also rejected arguments that Brooks’ conviction for capital murder should be overturned because he did not commit the killing to gain financially, which he said the statute specifies; that the trial judge shouldn’t have permitted an FBI agent’s opinion on conversations with the Brooks family; that a new opinion from the medical examiner shouldn’t have been produced at trial; and that the jury needed additional instructions.

Prosecutors said Brooks hired three men to help him kill Jack Reid of Derry in 2005 because Brooks thought Reid had stolen property from him.

Reid was lured to a friend’s farm with the prospect of work, and then was beaten to death with a sledgehammer.

Reid’s body was dumped in the back of his truck, covered with rocks and tree limbs, and the truck was left in a Saugus, Mass., parking lot.

Brooks was convicted of capital murder in 2008, but the jury rejected a death sentence.

He was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.