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Details of N.H. cop killer's prior confrontations with police released

May 14, 2007
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Details of N.H. cop killer's prior confrontations with police released

Union Leader

Bill Kenney talks about his nephew, Liko Kenney, 24, and Franconia Police Officer Bruce McKay, on Saturday, May 12, 2007, in Franconia, N.H. The two were killed Friday night. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
HAVERHILL, N.H. — Three days after the death of Franconia police Cpl. Bruce McKay, Grafton County Attorney Rick St. Hilare has released a statement on his murder and on several past incidents in which his shooter, Liko Kenney of Easton, had confrontations with police or the judicial system.

The Grafton County Attorney's statement:

The prosecution community mourns the loss of Corporal Bruce McKay who was murdered on May 11, 2007, and we appreciate the expression of public support for this law enforcement officer who gave his life in the line of duty and in service to his community of Franconia, NH. We remember Bruce as a man of courage, compassion, and good humor.

Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has reported that Liko Kenney was convicted in 2003 of assaulting Franconia Police Corporal Bruce McKay when he served in the rank of Officer. That case was prosecuted in the Grafton County Superior Court, and therefore details are known to this office and follow below. News sources have also reported that Liko Kenney was convicted of assaulting a 15 year old child on April 24, 2007. That case was prosecuted by NH State Police in the Littleton District Court, so questions concerning that matter should be directed to State Police Troop F.

On March 21, 2003 a grand jury indicted Liko Kenney on charges of assault against a police officer, resisting arrest, and escape. The defendant physically resisted four police officers, assaulted Officer Bruce McKay, and fled custody from a police cruiser. The defendant pled guilty to the charge of assaulting a police officer and a charge of resisting arrest on December 22, 2003.

The offenses could have resulted in a sentence of prison time. However, Officer Bruce McKay expressed his desire that compassion be shown to the defendant. He supported a short 15 day term of incarceration in the county jail, which was accepted by the court. The Grafton County Superior Court sentenced Kenney on the charge of assaulting a police officer to 12 months incarceration with all but 15 days suspended for 2 years on conditions of good behavior. The court also ordered a sentence of 12 months suspended for 2 years on a count of resisting arrest.

Police reports yielded the following information, which is summarized below:

On January 26, 2003 Officer Bruce McKay came upon a car located in a secluded, snowed-in parking area known as Fox Hill Park in Franconia. The officer was aware of recent illegal drug and alcohol activity at this location. Officer McKay investigated what appeared to be a lone automobile with no occupant, but then discovered a young man reclined in the front seat of the car who was later identified as Liko Kenney. Kenney was unknown to Officer McKay at the time except by reputation, according to McKay. Kenney explained that he was relaxing, waiting for friends to join him from a Super Bowl party. Because it was very cold out, Officer McKay returned to his police cruiser to get his coat. Kenney then exited the car and asked the officer his name. Officer McKay gave Kenney his name, but Kenney was silent about his identity when asked. Kenney returned to the car and started the engine.

Officer McKay requested Kenney’s driver’s license. Kenney refused to produce it. Officer McKay’s suspicions were then raised as he wondered why the subject wished to conceal his identity. After a time, the driver produced a license that identified him as Liko Kenney.

Officer McKay directed Kenney to remain in his car while the officer proceeded to return to his cruiser to conduct a license check. But Liko Kenney exited his car, making demands of Officer McKay that McKay did not have the right to have his license and falsely accusing the officer of stealing his property. Officer McKay’s concerns for his personal safety heightened when Kenney continued to approach the officer while Kenney was yelling, waving his hands, and placing his hands in and out of his pockets. Unknown to the officer at the time was the fact that Kenney had knives in his pockets.

Officer McKay directed Liko Kenney to return to his car. Liko Kenney refused and Officer McKay attempted to arrest Kenney, but McKay then attempted to calm the situation by verbally engaging Kenney. McKay told Kenney to return to the car and wait, and that he was not free to leave. Kenney entered the car, but did not wait; he tried to escape by attempting to drive around the Franconia Police cruiser. Officer McKay repositioned the police cruiser to block Kenney’s exit. Kenney continued to drive about the parking area in search of another exit without success.

Eventually Liko Kenney stopped the car and exited. Officer McKay had pepper spray in hand just in case. Kenney was insisting that other police be called. Officer McKay replied that he had already called for the assistance of other officers.

Police from Bethlehem and Littleton soon arrived. Kenney was asked to stop yelling. The Littleton officer tried to speak to Kenny, but Kenney continued yelling. Kenney was instructed to place his hands on the police cruiser. Kenney was defiant. Kenney was taken hold of, but Kenney retreated across the parking lot. The three officers went to take hold of Kenney again. He forcefully resisted the officers. Kenney yelled such things as “These officers are trying to molest me!” and “These officers are torturing me!” While struggling, Kenney reached out to the groin area of Officer McKay and gripped. Another officer witnessed McKay yell in pain and jump as a result. McKay applied lawful defensive force by engaging in a protective maneuver to successfully release Kenney’s grip by striking the left side of Kenney’s face. Kenney later denied that he assaulted the officer in the fashion described, but claimed that he could have applied a bite to the officer if he wanted.

The Littleton officer was able to get Kenney into handcuffs, but Kenney continued to resist by trying to get underneath the car. Officers had to pull Kenney out from under the car. He was then placed in leg restraints. Several efforts were made to get Kenney into the police cruiser. When this finally was accomplished, Kenney screamed and yelled. At one point, Kenney freed himself from the police car and hopped away. Officer McKay restrained Kenney until state police and EMTs arrived. Kenney continued to resist.

The EMTs arrived and examined Kenney; the state trooper informed the EMTs that Kenney had not been searched yet. While Kenney was lying on his back receiving medical attention, Kenney looked directly at the trooper and tried to kick the trooper three times. Kenney continued yelling and making accusations that he was being molested while receiving attention from the EMTs The EMTs eventually confiscated two knives and four discharged .22 caliber casings from Kenney’s pockets, and the trooper searched the car Kenney was driving and found a pipe with marijuana residue and an empty plastic holder for .22 ammunition.

Kenney was transported to the hospital to be evaluated for any injuries that Kenney claimed to have suffer. Kenney complained of neck and face pain. Medical personnel concluded that Kenney suffered no noteworthy injury. Officer McKay asked the doctor about Kenney’s mental health given the circumstances. Medical personnel concluded that Kenney was not a danger to himself or anyone else.

State police reported that Kenney was uncooperative with medical staff at the hospital, screaming that the medical staff was torturing him. After 15 minutes, Kenney calmed down enough to have handcuffs removed so that he could be examined by the physician on duty. Kenney complained that his jaw was swollen and painful from a punch. There was no evidence of a fractured jaw. Moderate tenderness and slight swelling was observed. Wrists were swollen and red from the handcuffs.

Kenney was about to be released from the hospital when he asked the state trooper “Will you shoot me?” After the trooper replied no, Kenney stated that he would just have to kill himself. At that point, a doctor contacted a mental health services professional to examine Kenney. A counselor subsequently found Kenney competent to be released, and Kenney was then booked by state police. Kenney was released to the custody of his parents after bail was set by a bail commissioner and Kenney was directed to report to the Littleton District Court on February 21, 2003.

A grand jury indicted Liko Kenney on March 21, 2003, and the superior court released Liko Kenney to the custody of his mother on $2000 personal recognizance bail on April 21, 2003. The defendant soon after violated conditions of bail by possessing a blowgun with steel darts. The defendant unsuccessfully challenged this violation in court and was placed under house arrest.

The facts of the bail violation are that Bill Kenney, Liko Kenney's uncle, called police on April 27, 2003 to report that a four-wheeler was trespassing on his property. Officer Bruce McKay responded and was told by Bill Kenney that he believed that Liko Kenney was operating the OHRV. The trespass appeared to have occurred in Easton, NH, not Franconia, so Officer McKay contacted the Easton constable and a state trooper. The three police officers waited for a time until Liko Kenney crossed Route 116 on an OHRV heading toward his parents’ house. The state trooper stopped Liko Kenney. Officer McKay then informed the trooper that he spotted a blowgun with steel darts on the four-wheeler. No action was taken at that time because Officer McKay wanted to make sure that Liko Kenney’s bail order actually did not permit him to possess a blowdart gun. Officer McKay later reviewed the facts and the conditions of the court’s bail order.

On May 21, 2003 Officer McKay reported the information to the county attorney, whereupon the county attorney assessed the facts and law and filed a motion with the court to review Liko Kenney’s bail. The court then revoked Kenney’s bail on June 17, 2003, following a hearing, and placed Liko Kenney under house arrest under terms and conditions set by the Grafton County Department of Corrections (DoC).

Liko Kenney’s house arrest was soon terminated by the DoC. On June 25, 2003 DoC received a strap sever alarm, indicating tampering with the electronic monitoring equipment fastened to Liko Kenney. DoC ordered Kenney to report in person to the jail. Kenney arrived at the DoC with his father, and Kenney was holding the electronic monitoring device. Kenney refused to be searched or be taken to a cell. Eventually Kenney complied. His attitude was characterized as belligerent by authorities.

On July 16, 2003 the superior court reviewed Kenney’s bail at the request of Kenney’s lawyer. The court set bail at $10,000 cash with probation supervision. As mentioned above, Kenney later pled guilty to the charge of assaulting a police officer and a charge of resisting arrest on December 22, 2003.

Copyright 2007 Union-Leader (Manchester, N.H.)

Full story: Details of N.H. cop killer's prior confrontations with police released

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