CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A man accused of fatally shooting a New Hampshire couple on a hiking trail last year spent months hiding from police — but because of a probation violation Utah, not murders – and analysis of shell casings and bullets. found in the area could not conclude that it was his gun that fired, his lawyer said at the start of his trial Tuesday.
“They got the wrong man,” Caroline Smith said during her opening speech at Logan Clegg’s trial in Concord. She said he had no connection to the couple and was not the killer.
Clegg, 27, who was living in a tent near the trail at the time, is charged with second-degree murder for knowingly and recklessly causing the deaths of Stephen and Djeswende Reid by shooting them multiple times.
The newly retired couple were killed shortly after walking on the trail near their Concord apartment on April 18, 2022. Their bodies, found several days later, were dragged into the woods and covered with leaves, sticks and debris, police said. Jurors planned to tour the apartment complex and trail area Tuesday afternoon.
Clegg is also charged with multiple counts of tampering with physical evidence and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty after his arrest last October in South Burlington, Vermont, initially for fleeing from justice.
Attorneys said Clegg is on probation in 2021 for burglary and theft offenses in Utah. Smith said he went to Portugal and eventually returned to the United States, staying in Concord.
After the Reids were reported missing, Clegg, who was interviewed by investigators looking for them, burned his tent, deleted information from his computer and bought a bus ticket to Concord, prosecutor Meghan Hagaman told jurors . Investigators eventually found him in South Burlington with a one-way plane ticket to Berlin, Germany, a fake passport and a gun in his backpack.
“When he couldn’t run or hide, he lied,” Hagaman said in his opening statement in Merrimack County Superior Court. Clegg said he was not in Concord that April 18, had not heard of the different name he had given to police during his first questioning and had not firearm at that time.
Hagaman said shell casings and bullet fragments were later found at the crime scene. Shell casings were also found at a location later discovered to be the location of Clegg’s tent. She said jurors will learn that bullets fired from Clegg’s 9mm handgun were identical in caliber and class to bullet fragments found in the Reids’ autopsies.
She said a state police forensic lab analysis showed the shell casings were fired from Clegg’s gun. But Smith drew attention to two shell casings that were found at the crime scene, in plain sight, a month after the area was thoroughly searched, suggesting someone had put them there. She said a criminologist could not say Clegg’s gun was the one used to fire the shots. Smith also said DNA testing on items the killer may have touched suggests “two foreign contributors to these areas – neither the Reids nor Logan.”
Both lawyers also gave different versions of a woman who was walking on the trail with her dogs and allowed the Reids to pass her and walk in front. She then heard gunshots, then passed a man on the trail before continuing her hike. Smith said Clegg was shopping at a supermarket at the time. She said the items and clothing he owned did not match the description in the charge.
Additional news alerts
Get the latest updates as they happen.