Suspect in NH machete attack regrets girl survived

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 05, 2010 3:02 PM

One of the men charged with killing a woman in her bed told police his only regret was that he didn't also succeed in killing her 11-year-old daughter, who was sleeping in the same room, according to police documents released Tuesday.

Christopher Gribble told police after his arrest he had wanted to kill someone for a long time and was disappointed he didn't feel any emotion following the Oct. 4 killing of Kimberly Cates in her Mont Vernon home. Cates' daughter, 11-year-old Jaimie, was injured during the attack.

"Gribble stated his only regret was he didn't kill the child because she now had to live with this," the documents said. "Gribble stated that if he realized she was alive he would have killed her."

Five men, ages 18 to 20, were charged in connection with the early morning home invasion. Documents supporting the arrests of the four men accused of entering Cates' home were released Tuesday after a request from The Associated Press and other media outlets.

The judge had refused to release the documents earlier, saying to do so could have revealed the scope and direction of the state's investigation.

The killing stunned Mont Vernon, a rural town of about 2,000 residents near the Massachusetts border where the 42-year-old Cates worked as a nurse. A community group has been working on a strategy to help residents deal with the release of the court documents, with three public forums planned this month.

Mont Vernon school superintendent Mary Jennings said faculty met Monday in preparation for the release of the documents and were advised to watch for parents and students who might be upset.

Gribble's account provides a graphic description of what happened after he and three others entered the home and found Kimberly Cates in her bed. Jaimie Cates was sleeping in the same room, although it was unclear if they were sleeping in the same bed. Kimberly Cates' husband, David, was traveling.

Gribble, 20, told police he and longtime friend Steven Spader, 18, agreed they would break into the house and that if anyone was home "they would just kill the people in the home for fun," the documents said. They shut off the electricity and lit their way through the home with an iPod.

Gribble and Spader and two others _ William Marks and Quinn Glover, both 18 and of Amherst _ found their way to the master bedroom, where Cates woke up, asking "Jaimie, is that you?" Gribble told police.

Spader attacked Kimberly Cates with a machete, Gribble said. Jaimie jumped over her mother and was stabbed in the face and chest by Gribble, who tried to puncture her heart, he said. He said he threw her against a door and assumed she had died. She later told police she pretended to be dead.

After the attack, the four searched the house for valuables, Gribble told police. They removed their clothing and wiped the knives on a Burger King bag, the documents said.

When a police officer arrived at the house, he saw Jaimie bleeding profusely. She said, "They killed my mommy," the documents said. He carried her outside and went back in. He found Kimberly Cates lying on the bed, naked from the waist down with extreme trauma to her head, the documents said.

Gribble and Spader have been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.

Gribble's attorney, Donna Brown, didn't immediately returned a message Tuesday.

Spader is accused of driving the group to Kimberly Cates' neighborhood and cutting her with a machete in the head, torso, arms and legs. Gribble is accused of stabbing her with a knife. Both are accused of attacking Jaimie, who was hospitalized for more than two weeks.

Recommended
Bring Out Your Dead
Gil Gutknecht

Spader denied any involvement in the attack when interviewed by police. He said he did not know who did it and "that whoever did it should get the death penalty," according to the affidavit.

Spader's attorney, Jonathan Cohen, declined to comment on the documents.

Marks and Glover are charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and robbery.

Marks admitted he took part in the burglary, according to the documents. Glover said he walked around houses on a dirt road in Mont Vernon that night, the documents said.

Glover's attorney, Peter Anderson, declined to comment. Marks' attorney, Andrew Gallagher, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Prosecutors said the group picked the home at random and because it was on an isolated road, but all knew of the plan to kill whoever was home.

In November, a fifth man, 20-year-old Autumn Savoy of Hollis, was charged with coming up with the plan to toss clothing and other items from the crime scene into the Nashua River. He also was charged with telling police that Gribble and Spader spent the night at his home.

Savoy later agreed to show police where the items were thrown. Police recovered two floating wooden jewelry boxes, sneakers and a partially submerged wallet with a military dog tag with David Cates' name, as well as clothing that belonged to Spader and Gribble, the documents said.

Prosecutors said Gribble and Spader went to Savoy's home after the attack. The three men searched for news of the attack on the Internet and discovered Jaimie Cates survived, prosecutors said.