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Antrim woman to be sentenced for moving body of overdosed man

  • court/crime Jason Morrison



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, April 15, 2019 1:26PM

An Antrim woman is scheduled to be sentenced today (Tuesday) after being convicted of dragging a man out of her apartment in September 2017 after he overdosed.

Kayla Phillips, 22, was found guilty of one felony count of falsifying physical evidence during a jury trial at the Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester last month, Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Conlon said Friday. 

“I believe that it is going to be heard and finalized at the sentencing hearing,” Conlon said regarding a potential sentence. 

Phillips, along with her mother Geneva Niskala and her mother’s boyfriend Shawn Lagasse, were arrested after police alleged the three had lied about carrying Thomas Belcher, 31, of Bennington, out of their apartment after he overdosed. 

Police were dispatched to the rear parking lot of the Antrim Town Hall on Sept. 14, 2017 for the drug overdose, according to a police affidavit. 

Police found an unresponsive and unconscious Belcher laying on the pavement near his car. He was revived with two doses of Narcan.

Phillips told police that Belcher had come over to hang out and left but she later saw Belcher leaning out of his car in the parking lot “in distress,” according to an affidavit on file with the court. 

She told police that she and her mother helped him out of the car and onto the ground to attempt CPR. 

The following day, police uncovered video footage that showed Phillips, Lagasse, and Niskala carrying an unconscious Belcher from the apartment to the parking lot and placing him near his car. 

Police said the footage also showed Phillips “staging the scene.”

Niskala and Lagasse have already been sentenced according to court records. 

Niskala was found guilty of one felony count of falsifying physical evidence and one misdemeanor count of reckless conduct. 

She was sentenced to three to six years in state prison, with two to four years of the sentence suspended for five years, for the falsifying physical evidence charge. 

She was sentenced to a concurrent one year sentence, all suspended for three years, for the reckless conduct charge.

Court records show Niskala has 14 days of time served credit. 

Lagasse pleaded guilty to one felony count of falsifying physical evidence and was sentenced to 12 months in jail, which is suspended for one year pending good behavior. 

He will also serve two years of probation.

A charge of reckless conduct was dismissed.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com.