Charge of auto theft dismissed

Trial set for criminal trespass, DWI

  • Antwun Whitney, 25, of Portsmouth at a probable cause hearing at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday morning.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Antwun Whitney, 25, of Portsmouth at a probable cause hearing at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on March 7<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Antwun Whitney, 25, of Portsmouth at a probable cause hearing at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on March 7<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

JAFFREY — One of two felony-level charges filed in the case of a Portsmouth man accused of crashing a stolen vehicle in Peterborough on March 2 was turned over to the Hillsborough County Superior Court on Thursday, after a district court judge ruled no proof had been offered the man had stolen the vehicle.

Peterborough police charged Antwun Whitney, 25, with one count of receiving stolen property, a felony, after he crashed a 2008 Nissan Versa in a snowbank at the Granite Street/Route 101 intersection on the evening of March 2. But a felony charge of theft issued by Jaffrey police, who say Whitney stole the same Nissan Versa from Charlonne Street in Jaffrey just hours before, was not carried forward.

At the request of Jaffrey police, the Cheshire County Attorney’s Office could still review the case and request that a Grand Jury indict Whitney on the theft charge, according to Jaffrey Police Chief Bill Oswalt.

A slew of misdemeanor charges and violations filed by Jaffrey and Peterborough police against Whitney have been set for trial at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on May 30. The charges include 11 counts of criminal trespass, two counts of simple assault, and one count each of DWI, resisting arrest and driving after suspension.

At a probable cause hearing at the 8th Circuit Court on Thursday, Justice L. Phillips Runyon III ordered that the charge of theft by unauthorized taking issued by Jaffrey police be dismissed. “I don’t think there was any testimony about the fact that [the car] was taken in Jaffrey. ...It was stolen, but it could have been stolen in Peterborough; it could have been stolen anywhere.”

Peterborough Sgt. Vint Boggis, who assisted with Whitney’s arrest, told the court that the 2008 Nissan Versa recovered by Peterborough police following the single-car crash was the same car reported stolen from Jaffrey. The car is registered to a Milford woman, but was reported stolen by a Jaffrey resident, according to prosecutors.

Whitney faces 11 counts of criminal trespass, misdemeanor-level charges, for allegedly rummaging through 11 cars on Charlonne Street in Jaffrey on March 1 and March 2, at which time the Nissan Versa was reported stolen. But there were no witnesses to the motor vehicle theft, Jaffrey Prosecutor Rick Carpenter told the court on Thursday.

In testimony at the probable cause hearing, Boggis said he asked Whitney why he stole a car, after reading Whitney his Miranda rights at the Peterborough police station on the evening of the arrest. Boggis said Whitney allegedly replied, “I stole the car because I am a loser and a drug addict.”

Boggis later testified that Whitney told police he was intoxicated at the time of the crash. “[Whitney] told me he had been drinking boos and had taken heroin also,” Boggis said.

Whitney’s public defender, Jeff Odland, asked Boggis if Whitney had ever confessed to stealing the Nissan Versa from Jaffrey. Boggis said he did not ask and that Whitney had not said.

Peterborough police reported to the Ledger-Transcript in interviews last week that they used a Taser to subdue Whitney, who was violent and tried to run off numerous times before police had him in custody. At Thursday’s hearing, Boggis said Whitney was fighting, kicking, screaming and agitated both after the crash and when incarcerated at the Peterborough police station.

“In 20 years of law enforcement, [it was] the most violent fight I’ve ever had,” Boggis said, referring to the violent struggle police had with Whitney in their attempts to arrest him. “[Whitney] was extremely violent. ... A police officer got hurt and had to be looked at. I had to have both of my knees X-rayed.”

Whitney reportedly resisted arrest multiple times and allegedly attacked Boggis and Peterborough Sgt. Richard Nelson, slightly injuring both men. Boggis and Nelson were treated at Monadnock Community Hospital for minor injuries and released.

Whitney was also taken to the hospital following the crash and reported fight with police, but Boggis said he did not know the extent of Whitney’s injuries or his medical treatment.

Odland asked Boggis a number of questions about Whitney’s medical condition at the time he agreed to speak with police, saying that if Whitney had suffered from a concussion and/or was intoxicated one could question the reliability of his statements.

In an interview with the Ledger-Transcript on Friday, Oswalt said a motive in the case is still unclear. “Whitney indicated that he was visiting someone, but he declined to identify who that person was,” Oswalt said about the Portsmouth man’s reason for being in the area.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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