Mont Vernon woman convicted of planning to burn down Milford building wants conviction thrown out

NASHUA – A Mont Vernon woman already convicted of soliciting someone to help her burn down a Milford building she owned and then trying to cover it up will be back in court this month trying to have the convictions thrown out.

A jury convicted Colleen Carr, 51, of criminal solicitation and witness tampering during a trial in October. The jury found that Carr had offered a tenant, Maureen Riley, $7,000 to leave the apartment building Carr had owned since the late 1980s, so she could burn it down to collect insurance money, as well as telling her former boyfriend to mislead police about the plan.

But Carr’s attorney, William Keefe, told Judge Jacalyn Colburn the indictments against Carr – the documents that officially inform her of the charges against her – are too flawed for the verdict to stand.

The Hillsborough County Attorneys Office disagrees and arguments over the validity of the convictions will take place at Hillsborough County Superior Court on Monday, Dec. 23.

Keefe is also arguing the verdicts should be overturned based on the “weight of the evidence,” according to court records.

The charge, specifically, is that Carr criminally solicited Riley to be an accomplice to insurance fraud.

Keefe will argue the state has to prove that if Riley had cooperated, it would have constituted insurance fraud.

Prosecutors will argue that isn’t an element of the crime they’re required to prove, and that Carr’s intent was for Riley to be an accomplice in a crime.

Following testimony from Carr and her ex-boyfriend, Conrad Kelleher, the jury sided with prosecutors, who said Carr was in desperate financial straits – including about $35,000 in credit card debt, plus tax debts – and wanted to collect insurance money for the building on the Milford Oval she’s owned since 1988.

Keefe said it was Riley who threatened to burn the building down, and that while Carr may have had significant debt, she was a long way from desperate enough to burn down the building.

Carr was arrested in January and charged with conspiracy to commit arson. Police say sometime between Jan. 8 and 17, she made plans to burn down the building, which houses two apartments, as well as commercial space on the first floor.

She wasn’t tried on the conspiracy to commit arson charges.

In pre-trial motions, Keefe argued Carr was a victim of police entrapment.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).