EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 29, 2012

Family seeks tougher sentence for murderer

BRENTWOOD — One by one, they took the stand; some sobbed while others fought back tears.

The eight relatives of Richard Mannion Jr. of Sandown pleaded with Rockingham Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling yesterday to give Nicole LeBlanc of Londonderry a life prison sentence for shooting and killing the father of four they so dearly loved.

But LeBlanc, 39, of 37 Olde Country Village was sentenced to 35 years to life, with chance for parole, for murdering her 43-year-old former boyfriend in his home Jan. 14. Mannion was found in his bed with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Wageling sentenced LeBlanc on a second-degree murder charge as part of a plea bargain reached with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office, which prosecuted the case.

LeBlanc, shackled and dressed in a prison jumpsuit, said little in court and did not apologize to the victim’s family. She looked down as Mannion’s family addressed the judge, her long black hair covering her face.

If convicted at trial on the original first-degree murder charge, the Londonderry mother faced life in prison without parole. Any other sentence for LeBlanc would not be enough, Mannion’s family told the judge.

“Hopefully, you will get life — you don’t deserve anything less,” read the letter from his mother, Tricia Mannion. “You are a heartless monster and don’t deserve to live.”

An emotional Tricia Mannion stood and listened as a representative from the state Attorney General’s office read what she had written.

Richard Mannion Jr.’s two daughters and one of his two sons told the judge how much they missed their father. They were joined by his father, uncle, sister and former wife — among the approximately 20 friends and family members in the courtroom.

“Nicole, you didn’t just take away one life, you took pieces away from everyone,” said his teenage daughter Nicolette, who called him “Papa Bear.”

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