CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A 27-year-old man who was living in a tent in the woods in New Hampshire was sentenced Friday to up to life in prison in the fatal shooting deaths of a retired couple who had gone out for a walk. He asserted his innocence in court.
Superior Court Judge John Kissinger Jr. called Logan Clegg a “stone-cold, violent murderer” as he imposed the sentence requested by prosecutors of two sentences of 50 years to life in prison for the murders of Stephen and Djeswende “Wendy” Reid. The couple were killed in April 2022 while walking on a trail near their apartment in Concord, the state capital. They had done international development and humanitarian work before recently relocating to the city.
“I truly hope he engages in rehabilitation, but there is no chance — if this sentence holds — that he will spend a day outside of the prison,” Kissinger said.
A jury convicted Clegg in October of all nine counts he faced, including four counts of second-degree murder, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and four counts of falsifying physical evidence. The falsifying evidence counts were for allegedly moving and concealing the victims’ bodies, burning his tent, and destroying or removing information from his laptop.
No motive was offered for the killings. Prosecutors said Clegg’s repeated lies, his attempt to flee and the gun found in his backpack offered a trail of evidence to show he was guilty. But defense attorneys said authorities charged the wrong person, didn’t prove their case, and suggested that someone had put bullet casings at the crime scene a month after the area had been heavily searched.
“If there were a case to send a message to the community, it’s this one,” prosecutor Meghan Hagaman said.
Defense attorney Caroline Smith said the sentence asked for is “tantamount to a life without parole” and that the punishment doesn’t fit the charges. She said she stands by Clegg’s assertion of innocence and that “no number is just in this case.”
Six family members and friends of the Reids spoke of their grief and loss. They described the Reids as a very loving, hard-working couple who came from modest backgrounds and were so willing to help others. They met in the 1980s when Stephen took a job at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., as a liaison to several West African countries, according to their obituary. Wendy, who was born in Benin, was a star basketball player who had traveled the world.
They supported a lengthy sentence and addressed Clegg.
“I pity how weak you are, how empty you must be and how you have wasted a perfectly healthy life,” said Keelan Forey, a niece of the Reids.
After they spoke, Clegg addressed the judge.
“Those detectives did everything in their power in the last year to cheat me out of getting a proper trial,” he said. “That fact should be obvious to anyone biased against me or not.”
He added, “If the Supreme Court agrees with me, then I may very well get a new trial. … No man with any pride or dignity gives up just because he loses a single battle, especially when he knows he’s in the right. If it does come to a second battle, I can promise with confidence that my innocence will be made clear and that I will win.”
Kissinger said there was no basis to Clegg’s claim of police misconduct.
The bodies of the Reids were found several days after they were reported missing. They had been dragged into the woods and covered with leaves, sticks and debris, police said.
Clegg, who gave a different name when police questioned him, later burned his tent, erased information from his computer and bought a bus ticket out of Concord, prosecutors said. Investigators eventually found and arrested him in South Burlington, Vermont, with a one-way plane ticket to Berlin, Germany, a fake passport, and a gun in his backpack, they said.
Clegg’s lawyers said he left New Hampshire not because of the Reids, but because he had been hiding from police after violating his probation on burglary and theft charges in Utah.
Prosecutors said that shell casings and bullet fragments were later found at the crime scene. Shell casings also were found at a location later discovered to be Clegg’s tent site. Prosecutors said bullets fired from Clegg’s 9 mm handgun were consistent in caliber and class characteristics as bullet fragments found during the Reids’ autopsies.
Cleggs’ lawyers said an analysis of shell casings and bullets found in the area could not conclude that his gun fired the shots and that the casing could have come from a variety of guns.