Standoff suspect fit for trial, doctor says

Thomas Heissenberger

  • Thomas Heissenberger was found to be competent to stand trial during a competency hearing at the Superior Court in Manchester on Tuesday.

Monandock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A judge ruled Tuesday that a man accused of pointing a gun at a Peterborough police officer is fit to stand trial.

Thomas Heissenberger appeared briefly in the Superior Court in Manchester, where his counsel did not object to a finding by a medical doctor that Heissenberger is competent to stand trial.

Heissenberger, who is currently awaiting trial in the Hillsborough County House of Corrections, is charged with felony-level criminal threatening, reckless conduct for allegedly pointing a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun at officer Chris Martin in December 2015. Martin had responded to a report of a distraught man whose car was stuck in the mud at the ConVal High School athletic fields.

Heissenberger allegedly pointed the gun at the officer, causing Martin to seek cover behind his police vehicle. Heissenberger also allegedly fired a shot into the ground during the incident. Eventually, Martin was able to convince Heissenberger to unload the weapon and place it on the ground, and Heissenberger was taken into custody.

In court appearances following the incident, Heissenberger admitted to the need for psychiatric help and requested the psychiatric review to determine competency. Heissenberger and his attorney did not object to the assessment of his competency during Tuesday’s hearing.

Judge Gillian Abramson noted that she would have liked to have the doctor who performed Heissenberger’s assessment present in the courtroom, saying that she generally likes to ask if there have been any changes or updates since the assessment was performed. Prosecutor Greg Lenti assured the judge that the doctor has not seen nor received any written updates on Heissenberger since his assessment, and that the assessment was up to date.

Heissenberger was originally additionally charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest and criminal mischief related to damage to the athletic fields caused by spinning his tires, but both those charges were dropped.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.