February 12, 2008 01:54 pm
Sheila LaBarre - 'She's clearly and utterly insane'
By RUSS CHOMA
New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent
BRENTWOOD – While the mothers of her two victims sobbed behind her, former Epping resident Sheila LaBarre sat impassively in court yesterday morning, as prosecutors read off the evidence they would have used to convince a jury to convict her on two charges of first-degree murder.
LaBarre was charged in March 2006 with murdering 24-year-old Kenneth Countie and then incinerating his body on her front lawn, but yesterday, in a surprise move, prosecutors also announced they were charging her with the death of Michael Deloge, 38, in the fall of 2005. Both deaths occurred at her 115-acre Epping farm.
After prosecutors detailed the evidence, LaBarre stood and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity -- admitting the state has the evidence to find her guilty, but denying she was legally responsible at the time she committed the killings.
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Published: February 12, 2008
LaBarre admits to two murders
James A. Kimble
BRENTWOOD, N.H. -- Sheila LaBarre acknowledged murdering two men in a bid to have a jury find her criminally insane.
She pleaded not guilty today by reason of insanity to murdering Kenneth Countie, 24, of Wilmington, Mass. in March 2006, and a second man, Michael Deloge, in the fall of 2005. She now faces two counts of first-degree murder.
If a jury finds LaBarre insane, Judge Tina Nadeau would determine whether she needs to be committed to the state hospital. A finding of sanity means LaBarre would spend the rest of her life in prison with no chance of parole.
Countie moved in with LaBarre after the couple met through a telephone dating service in February 2006. Their first date was on Valentine's Day at the Ashworth Hotel in Hampton. Countie moved into LaBarre's 115-acre horse farm in Epping a few days later, according to prosecutors. Countie was beaten over a series of days then killed and burned in late March, prosecutors said.
A 17-day search of LaBarre's home and 115-acre property led to the discovery of evidence in the Deloge murder.
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Apr 14, 2006
Parents Of Missing Man File Wrongful Death Suit
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BRENTWOOD, N.H. The parents of a 24-year-old man formerly from Massachusetts have filed a wrongful death suit against the woman accused of killing him and burning his body.
Kenneth Countie moved to Sheila LaBarre’s 115-acres horse farm in Epping this past winter. Kenneth’s parents claim their son was last seen in March with LaBarre, 47, who is now being charged with his murder. At that time, Kenneth had several wounds, including cuts and bruises on his face and arms.
LaBarre was arraigned earlier this month on a first-degree murder charge in Portsmouth District Court. She will be held at the Strafford County jail, pending a probably cause hearing in Exeter District Court on April 25th. LeBarre’s lawyer, Jeffrey Denner, said his client "steadfastly maintains her innocence.
Neighbors, court documents and family have said LaBarre was involved in many tumultuous relationships. They said Countie was among a succession of young men that came to work and live at her horse farm.
In 1999, LaBarre was charged with, but ultimately not convicted of, second-degree assault, according to Rockingham County Superior Court documents. The charge alleged she stabbed a boyfriend in the head with scissors.
Epping NH -
Sheila LaBarre is the target of a nationwide search after police last night obtained an arrest warrant charging her with murdering a man, who disappeared shortly after moving to her farm, and incinerating his body.
LaBarre, 47, is accused of first-degree murder in the gruesome death of Kenneth Countie, 24, in Epping on or about March 21, four days after Countie last was seen at a local store.
We can’t comment on what evidence we have beyond the fact that the case reached a point that we were able to pursue and secure an arrest warrant, said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery A. Strelzin, the state’s top homicide prosecutor.
Authorities now are focusing their efforts on locating LaBarre, who is believed to have a substantial amount of cash and not known to have a motor vehicle.
The world is open at this point, state police Maj. David W. Kelley, commander of the investigative services unit.
We will be reaching out to all agencies to look for her and, hopefully, we will be able to bring her into custody very soon.
Police last had contact with LaBarre during an interview with her Monday, he said.
We had information that she was still in the general area on Tuesday. Since that time, her whereabouts are unknown, Kelley said.
Police alerted law enforcement nationwide that LaBarre is wanted for first-degree murder through the National Crime Information Center computerized database and the State Police On-Line Telecommunications System, Kelley said.
Police also are checking bus stations, airports and other transportation systems and are researching relatives, friends and any others who may have contact with her, he added.
Countie moved to LaBarre’s 70 Red Oak Hill Lane farm about a month ago from Wilmington, Mass.
Authorities said they do not believe Countie moved to LaBarre’s Silver Leopard Farm to work.
We believe he was just living there, Strelzin said.
After Countie’s relatives filed a missing person’s report March 23, authorities began an intensive search of portions of the 115-acre farm Sunday night. Assisted by investigators with the state Fire Marshal’s Office and state conservation officers, state and local police remained there all week, searching the grounds, house and several outbuildings and collecting evidence.
Strelzin would not comment on the fuel authorities suspect LaBarre allegedly used to incinerate the body or on any other evidence gathered.
LaBarre is 5-foot-6, weighs about 150 to 160 pounds, has brown eyes and speaks with a slight Southern accent. She last was known to have blonde hair with brown roots, but authorities said she may have dyed her hair to hide her identity.
While LaBarre is known to possess firearms in the past, police said they have no information indicating she is armed or a danger to the public.
However, she is being charged with ... a violent crime and the public should be cautious. They should not approach her, Kelley warned.
Police urged anyone with information about LaBarre’s whereabouts to contact their local police or state police at (603) 271-3636.
Countie is one of a succession of young men, most in their early 20s, who moved to LaBarre’s farm from outside the area and remained a short time, according to several longtime residents of neighboring farms.
The investigation of LaBarre remains active, Strelzin said. He would not say whether other charges may be brought.
Several days after Countie was last seen on March 17, neighbors said LaBarre was driving around the area and asking if anyone had seen Countie. According to neighbors, LaBarre said Countie was supposed to feed her farm animals, but had taken off.
In a bizarre turn of events, two women who claimed they met LaBarre Sunday night delivered a letter with LaBarre’s signature on it and dated March 28 to WMUR-TV. I am innocent, LaBarre wrote.
LaBarre grew up in Fort Payne, Ala., and was living in Tennessee when she met Wilfred J. LaBarre in 1987, a respected and well-known chiropractor who owned the Epping farm and operated his chiropractic business out of his Hampton office.
Wilfred LaBarre was in his early 60s and recently widowed when he met LaBarre then known as Sheila Bailey Jennings through a personals ad and brought her to New Hampshire, according to Wilfred LaBarre’s son-in-law, John Melisi. While the couple never married, Sheila LaBarre took the doctor’s last name and claimed to be his common-law wife.
According to court records, Melisi claimed Sheila LaBarre tried to control everything Dr. LaBarre owned through extortion and threats on his life and even tried to get someone to murder the chiropractor so she could take over his Hampton business and Epping farm, court papers reveal.
After Dr. LaBarre died in 2000, Sheila LaBarre inherited the Epping farm, Hampton office, two Somersworth properties and a Portsmouth house, Melisi said.