New Evidence in NH Murder-for-hire Case

(NECN: Lauren Collins, Manchester, NH) - Lorraine Brooks looks back at the missed opportunities.  "For years I was advised not to speak to the media.  I was told that speaking publically would jeopardize my son's case."

But now she says her son Jesse has waited too long for justice.  In a three-hour long press conference Monday, her team of hired investigators released what they say is new evidence to clear his name.

John 'Jay' Brooks is serving a life sentence for plotting the 2005 murder of Derry, NH, handyman Jack Reed.  His estranged son Jesse was convicted of hiring the hit men.  

Paul Ciolino of the Chicago-based firm Paul J. Ciolino & Associates, said “I'm gonna tell you right now, unequivocally, make this very clear:  That meeting never happened.  Jesse brooks is not at that meeting.”  

Investigators say there's a paper trail to prove it but the alibi was never presented at trial.  They also say Brooks' attorneys overlooked inconsistent testimony, key witnesses and evidence like this jailhouse phone call between alleged co-conspirator Michael Benton and his mother.

“I hope you take Jesse with ya because if you were involved in this I know it was Jesse that took you there,” she said to her jailed son.  “No it wasn't,” said Benton in reply.

The motion for a new trial argues "the conviction should be vacated because trial counsel was ineffective.”  But both investigators and Mrs. Brooks allege that then Attorney General, now U.S. Senator, Kelly Ayotte and her team pursued Brooks to heighten their profiles.

“Senator Kelly Ayotte and [Senior Assistant Attorney General] Janice Rundles looked at Jesse as nothing more than collateral damage in their pursuit of power and both are directly to blame for this injustice,” she said.  

A written response from Sen. Ayotte (R-NH) on Monday read:  “That's absurd. The charges against him were brought based on the evidence of the crimes he committed."  

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office wrote: "We will respond to the defendant's latest allegations in court."

The Merrimack County Superior Court has not set a date for a hearing.  

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