Defense attorney claims ‘wrong man’ on trial in slayings of New Hampshire couple

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(CONCORD, N.H.) — The trial of a 27-year-old drifter charged with fatally shooting a retired couple on a New Hampshire hiking trail began Tuesday with a prosecutor telling a jury that evidence will show that “he alone” is guilty of the grisly slayings, and a defense attorney countering police “got the wrong man.”

Logan Clegg is accused of murder and other crimes stemming from the 2022 killings of retired international humanitarian workers Stephen Reid, 67, and his wife Djeswende “Wendy” Reid, 66. The couple was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on April 21, 2022, two days after they went for an afternoon walk on the Marsh Loop Trail, part of the Broken Ground Trails system, near their apartment in Concord, New Hampshire.

Clegg was arrested in Vermont about six months after the killings as he was about to fly to Germany using a phony Romanian passport, according to prosecutors.

He is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, destroying and concealing evidence and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty.

A jury of nine women and seven men was selected on Monday to hear the case in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord.

In an opening statement, Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Meghan Hagaman told the panel the evidence will show beyond reasonable doubt that Clegg repeatedly shot the couple, whom he did not know, for no apparent reason, saying, “motive is not an element of the crimes charged.”

“After the murders, Clegg dragged their bodies into the woods, covered them in layers of leaves, debris and sticks, and after he murdered them, he ran and he hid,” Hagaman told the jury. “Despite his efforts to conceal the murders and his tracks, investigators uncovered them, and when he couldn’t run or hide anymore, he lied.”

She said Concord police investigators worked tirelessly on the case to identify Clegg as the alleged assailant in the crime, combing through hours of surveillance video from stores near the Marsh Loop Trail and sales receipts of items found at a campsite near the trail to place Clegg at the murder scene on day the Reids were killed.

“The defendant is the one and only person who is responsible for the murders of Stephen and Wendy,” Hagaman said.

She said detectives initially questioned Clegg, whom they encountered while canvassing the Marsh Loop Trail after Stephen Reids’ sister reported him and his wife missing on April 20, 2022, a day before their bodies were discovered.

Hagaman said Clegg used a fake name, Arthur Kelly, to identify himself to detectives looking for the Reids and claimed he had not seen them in the area.

The prosecutor said that after talking to the detectives, Clegg burned his campsite and fled the area, traveling to Boston and then to Burlington, Vermont, where he was arrested in October 2022 on a fugitive warrant. She said at the time of his arrest, Clegg had a backpack containing $7,000 cash and a 9mm handgun that ballistic tests determined matched shell casings found at Clegg’s campsite along the Marsh Loop Trail and bullet fragments at the murder scene.

But Clegg’s attorney, Caroline Smith, a New Hampshire public defender, told the jury in her opening statement that none of the prosecution’s evidence connects Clegg to the killings.

“The wrong man has been charged,” Smith said. “He had no connection to the Reids, he had no contact with the Reids and he did not murder the Reids.”

Smith said the only reason Clegg used a phony name to identify himself to detectives was because he was wanted for a parole violation in Utah, where he had been convicted in 2020 for burglary.

“The police were right to investigate him — he lived alone in a tent, he did have a gun and he did lie, but he moved around to try and hide his identity from the Concord police,” Smith said. “He was hiding from a probation violation out of Utah.”

She said Clegg immediately left Concord after police searching for the Reids spoke to him on the Marsh Loop Trail because “he did not want to be found, not because of a murder, but because of a probation violation.”

Smith said the ballistic evidence prosecutors plan to present during the trial does not definitively match shell casings and bullet fragments found at the crime scene to the gun Clegg had in his position when he was arrested, and that no DNA evidence connects Clegg to the slayings. She said the $7,000 Clegg had on him at the time he was caught was money he had saved from working at a store in Burlington.

Smith said the evidence will show that police didn’t find the shell casings at the crime scene until weeks after the Reids’ bodies were discovered, despite scanning the area with metal detectors. She suggested the real killer placed the shell casings at the crime scene after police had cleared the area and it was reopened to the public.

“The evidence of the shootings says it’s not Logan,” Smith said.” Logan’s actions raised the suspicions. “It is the evidence that gives you the answer here, and the evidence shows they got the wrong man.”

The trial is scheduled to last up to three weeks.

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