Police: Sweatshirt links NH man to machete slaying

AP News
Posted: Nov 01, 2010 5:00 PM
Police: Sweatshirt links NH man to machete slaying

Evidence introduced Monday against a New Hampshire man accused of hacking a woman to death with a machete then maiming her 11-year-old daughter included a sweatshirt that described him as "awesome" and the wallet of the woman's husband.

State police found the sweatshirt, wallet and other items in the Nashua River near the home of a co-defendant charged in connection with the attacks on Kimberly Cates, 42, and her 11-year-old daughter Jaimie, Detective Steven Tarr told jurors.

Tarr held up a sweatshirt bearing Steven Spader's full name and read additional writing on it: "This is Steve's sweatshirt. Steve who is awesome."

Spader's murder trial entered its second week Monday. Spader, 18, Christopher Gribble and three others were charged in the Oct. 4, 2009, home invasion.

Tarr told jurors the items were found in a garbage bag retrieved from the river in Hollis. Two socks and a towel with Gribble's name on them were among them, he said. Floating alongside the bag was a wallet with identification cards for David Cates, Kimberly's Cates' husband, who was traveling on business when his wife was killed and their daughter severely injured.

Tarr said he was led to the evidence by co-defendant Autumn Savoy. Savoy initially told police Spader and Gribble were at his Hollis house at the time of the attacks, but later decided to cooperate with police. He has pleaded guilty to two counts of hindering the investigation.

Savoy testified last week that Gribble and Spader arrived at his house hours after the attacks and told him they had killed a mother and daughter. Later, Gribble drove him down a dirt path that led to the river and told him to throw the bag into the river, Savoy said.

Other items found, Tarr said, included four pairs of footwear, three pair of pants, three sweatshirts and two shirts. He said some of the items showed "obvious discoloration and stains," but he could not determine if they were caused by blood.

Police also found jewelry boxes stolen from the home. They believe a machete and a knife were used in the attacks and were buried in the woods.

A forensic tire print examiner testified that tire tracks in a dirt pull-off near the Cates' home could have been made by tires on Gribble's car. He also identified shoe prints recovered from a coffee table in the Cates' basement and said they likely were left by one of the four pairs of shoes he examined. Experts said exposure to dirt and water may have destroyed other traceable evidence.

Co-defendants Billy Marks and Quinn Glover have struck plea deals with the prosecution. Glover testified against Spader last week. Marks is expected to testify Tuesday. Gribble is to go on trial in February.