Jury Trial over shooting in self-defense at post office ends in mistrial

Last week, Ted Lothstein was up in Grafton County Superior Court for a jury trial that was supposed to last four days - but ended unexpectedly with a mistrial on the second day. Ethical rules prohibit lawyers from making public statements about a case that could prejudice a future jury, so this post limits its discussion to include only information that has already been published in the Union Leader.

Kenneson jury trial covered in the Manchester Union Leader

Kenneson faced charges of first degree assault, second degree assault and reckless conduct, arising out of an incident in the parking lot of the Rumney post office where, as Attorney Lothstein explained in the opening statement, "the one witness who actually saw the confrontation between Sanborn and Kenneson will testify that Sanborn 'got right into the old man’s face, yelling, and screaming' and making 'criminal threats' to beat Kenneson 'to a pulp,' and to put him 'in the ground.'" Both sides agreed that immediately before the shooting, Sanborn destroyed the driver's side mirror on Kenneson's truck - with 73-year-old Kenneson right there sitting in the driver's seat. Thus, in opening statement, Attorney Lothstein explained that Kenneson had every right to be at the post office to get his mail, had no duty to retreat from Sanborn's aggressive and unprovoked attack under NH law, and acted reasonably in self-defense when he fired one shot that caused minor injuries to Sanborn. You can read more about the opening day of trial here: 2023-05-09-Kenneson-Union Leader coverage

Judge orders mistrial

The trial ended the next day, however, when a witness blurted out testimony that had been ruled inadmissible, and that would have resulted in an unfair trial if the proceedings had been allowed to continue. Judge MacLeod granted the defense request for a mistrial, over the prosecutor's objection. You can read about the coverage of the granting of a mistrial in this follow-up article in the Union Leader: 2023-05-13-Kenneson-UL coverage mistrial

As in most cases, the declaration of a mistrial here did not end the proceedings. Instead, the trial will be rescheduled so that a whole new jury can be impaneled. Stay tuned.... - Ted