A decade after the arrest of Sheila LaBarre, those who worked the case said the memories are still with them.
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LaBarre was convicted of killing two men on her Epping farm, and from the raw emotion of the victims’ families to the complexity of the evidence, one of the lead prosecutors said it was a case that stood out with a suspect like no other.
“Evidence-wise, it was a fascinating case,” former Assistant Attorney General Kristen Wilson said. “Sheila LaBarre herself was fascinating.”
LaBarre was arrested and charged with killing Kenneth Countie, 24, and burning his body on her Epping farm.
In 2008, she became one of the most notorious murderers in New Hampshire history, convicted of killing not only Countie, but another man as well, Michael Deloge. Prosecutors said she preyed on people in homeless shelters and others who had a trusting nature.
“She was at one point in time a beauty contestant,” Wilson said. “She is from the South and could turn on a Southern accent and charm, so she could be very charming but also very intelligent and very terrifying.”
Wilson helped prosecute the LaBarre case and said investigators worked around the clock, doing line searches of the sprawling farm and lab analysis inside.
“We weren’t sure where anything had happened, so we were looking at the whole house,” Wilson said. “There were a lot of angles that we had to figure out for the very first time.”
Investigators were able to trace Countie’s blood through the Army and looked into forensic radiology to compare bone fragments with a live CAT scan Countie had done.
“I think some of that progressive forensic technology really got her to the point where she accepted responsibility but proceeded with the insanity defense,” Wilson said.
That defense wasn’t successful, and LaBarre is now serving two life sentences in prison.
“During the course of the investigation, we found not only people who would come forward and say they knew other men had stayed at the house, but also hundreds of audio cassettes of her speaking to men on chat lines,” Wilson said. “That was always a concern, that there were potentially other victims.”
Wilson couldn’t say if there are any current investigations, but she said that legally, nothing prevents state police from continuing to look into the case.