Milford homicide unsolved after 10 years
Thursday, September 12, 2013
MILFORD – On Aug. 27, 2003, police found the body of Paul Herlihy in the Nashua Street house he had been planning to turn into an antiques shop.
The antiques dealer and Massachusetts native had been dead for several days and his death was labeled a homicide. No one has ever been named as a suspect.
In 2009, the New Hampshire Department of Justice started a Cold Case Unit and the Herlihy case was added to a list of more than 100 unsolved suspicious deaths.
Investigators decided Herlihy died from “blunt force trauma,” but little else is known now about the homicide than was known 10 years ago.
“There is nothing new to report, publicly,” said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin this week.
Strelzin, the Department of Justice’s Homicide Division chief, has not named the weapon or even the day and time of death. That’s because, he said, when investigators are questioning someone, “it’s important for us to be able to distinguish between what they know and something they heard.”
The Herlihy case is still considered an open investigation, an investigation that goes between “active” and “dormancy,” depending on new information that is received, he said.
Herlihy’s youngest son, Douglas, was 17 at the time and considered by many a likely suspect. Father and son had a stormy relationship, Douglas had been in trouble over drugs, and the day after his father’s body was found, he was arrested in Stoneham, Mass., driving his father’s 1995 Lincoln, which he had been charged with stealing two weeks before the body was found. He pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of the car and received a suspended sentence.
Bill Herlihy, Paul’s brother, was the last member of their family to see him alive. Bill could not be reached for comment for this story, but two years ago, he told The Cabinet he believed investigators focused too much on Douglas, who he called ”just a goofy teenage kid” who had never been violent, and not enough on other possible suspects.
In 2010, when he was 25, Douglas Herlihy was arrested on warrant charges of heroin possession and breaking and entering and went to jail on various felony drug and motor vehicle charges.
On Monday, Strelzin would only say that Douglas was someone prosecutors spoke to during the investigation.
There is one other unsolved Milford case on the Cold Case list: Michael Kierstead, of Greenville, who was found stabbed to death in a sand pit in town on Sept. 5, 1986.
The unit has some success stories, and its work has led to the arrest of David McLeod in June 2010 in connection with a fire in Keene that killed a family of four.
The unit also arrested Anthony Barnaby and David Caplin in the murders of two women in Nashua in 1988. Both cases are pending in court.
For more information on the Cold Case Unit go to http://doj.nh.gov/
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.