Facing felony charges that could have landed him years behind bars, a North Stratford man indicted in February for a violent assault, after which police said he ordered the victim who had been trying to leave him to clean up her blood, has avoided time behind bars by agreeing to a plea deal.
On Friday, Richard Allen Card, 34, pleaded guilty at Coos Superior Court to multiple felony counts and was given suspended House of Corrections and state prison sentences.
In February, Card was indicted by a grand jury on a Class B felony count each of domestic violence second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury and second-degree assault by strangulation, two Class B felony counts of falsifying or destroying physical evidence, and a Class B felony count of being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon.
Each carried a maximum New Hampshire State Prison sentence of 3 1/2 to 7 years.
For the charge of second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury, Card was given a 12-month sentence in the Coos County House of Corrections, all of which is suspended for three years on condition of good behavior.
For the charge of being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon, Card was given 2 to 4 years in New Hampshire State Prison, all of which is suspended for five years on the condition of good behavior.
For the charge of falsifying or destroying physical evidence, he was given a 1- to 2-year prison sentence, all suspended on the condition of five years of good behavior.
The charges of second-degree assault by strangulation and the second count of falsifying physical evidence were dropped as part of the plea deal.
Card was given three years probation, the violation of which could result in the imposing of any sentence, and is required to complete a mental health evaluation within 90 days of sentencing and comply with all treatment recommendations that would be monitored by his probation officer.
According to his sentencing document, the court found that Card “has no ability to pay counsel fees and expenses.”
From his previous encounters he had with Card, New Hampshire State Police Trooper Jeremy Brann was already familiar with the victim when she called him on Nov. 27 about retrieving some of her items from the North Stratford property.
“I knew [the victim] from previous encounters that I have had with her boyfriend while working for the Lancaster Police Department, most of which have been domestic violence-related incidents,” Brann wrote in the affidavit for arrest.
In speaking with the woman, Brann learned the assault had occurred three days earlier in their camper trailer along Route 3.
They had been together nine years, she told him, and she wanted out.
“The [victim] told me that she has been slowly moving her stuff out of the camper trailer so that Card would not notice all of her stuff gone,” said Brann. “She informed me that she was doing this out of her own safety because she was concerned of what he would do to her if he found out she was moving out.”
A verbal argument began that morning after which Card came at her, she told Brann.
Knowing Card’s “past and capabilities,” the woman said she swung in defense and missed, after which Card put his hands around her throat and began squeezing to the point where she said she became dizzy.
The victim told police Card then took her cell phone.
When she screamed at him to return it, Brann wrote that Card then slammed her head against the bedroom wall.
She told Brann the impact from her head hitting the wall resulted in blood splattering onto the blinds, curtains, and wall, which she showed police in photographs she had taken before being transported to Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster for treatment.
Although Card cannot possess firearms because he is a convicted felon out of Maine, the victim told Brann he kept a .410 shotgun in the camper trailer under his side of the mattress and the shells above the bed.
When Brann later went to the residence to deliver the domestic violence order paperwork, he said he looked at the head of the bed and saw a hole in the wall with a long crack, but no blood.
“I asked [the victim] if that was where Card had pushed her head into the wall and she informed me that it was,” Brann wrote in the affidavit. “I asked her what happened to the blood and she told me that Card made her clean it up.”
He also made contact with Dave Laney, whose pickup truck the woman said she had seen parked outside the camper on Nov. 24.
When Laney was asked by police why he was there that day, he told officers he was there to buy the .410 shotgun from Card for $100, said Brann.
“When I retrieved the firearm from Laney’s residence, the firearm and ammunition were all in yellow Dollar General bag, just as [the victim] had described it,” wrote Brann.
When NHSP ran Card’s name through the National Crime Information Center, they found previous felony charges with guilty convictions in the states of Maine, Virginia, and Texas, and a current pending felony charge in Vermont for first-degree aggravated domestic assault with a weapon.
In Virginia in 2005, he was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon.
In Georgia in 2010, Card was convicted of felony robbery and theft and misdemeanor assault.