CONCORD, N.H. — A prosecutor said in her opening statement Tuesday that Logan Clegg was the “one and only person” who killed a retired couple in the woods near their home here last year, while Clegg’s lawyer said the 27-year-old drifter is wrongly accused.
As Clegg’s murder trial began in Merrimack Superior Court, Assistant Attorney General Meghan C. Hagaman told jurors that Clegg shot Stephen Reid, 67, and his wife, Djeswende Reid, 66, multiple times after encountering them randomly on a quiet trail on April 18, 2022.
He moved their bodies and covered them with sticks and leaves to prevent their discovery, she said.
Evidence will show that Clegg is “the one and only person who shot and killed them on the Marsh Loop trail. The one and only person who concealed their bodies and dragged them off the trail so no one would find them,” Hagaman said. “The one and only person who burned his tent site, wiped information from his laptop, and brought a one-way ticket out of the country.”
A yellow school bus shuttled jurors between key locations in the case, including the Shaw’s supermarket where Clegg was captured on video by a security camera, the apartment complex where the Reids lived, and the trail system where they were murdered.
They were shown the place where the Reids’ bodies were found days after their murder: A natural depression, at the base of a few trees where the forest thickens. The site is downhill and hard to spot from the trail. The prosecution and defense took turns asking the jurors to carefully note the state of the ground, its slope, and visibility through the woods.
Clegg accompanied them, wandering unshackled along the same paths he may have frequented while living in a tent site nearby. A security detail and several sheriffs also escorted the group.
In the courtroom before the tour, Hagaman said Clegg used multiple aliases to keep investigators from connecting him to the killings, wiped files off his laptop, and bought a one-way ticket to Berlin as part of a getaway plan. She opened her presentation by showing a photo of the murdered couple: Djeswende Reid leaning against her husband’s chest as he placed candles on a chocolate cake, both of them smiling.
Hagaman said prosecutors will not directly answer why Clegg decided to kill two apparent strangers.
“Motive is not an element of the crime charged,’” she told jurors.
When police arrested Clegg in Vermont, he was carrying a 9mm handgun in his backpack that was consistent with the type of gun used to kill the couple, she said. Spent shell casings recovered at the crime scene were also consistent with the gun.
Clegg’s public defender, Caroline L. Smith, countered that “the evidence shows that Logan Clegg is not guilty, that the wrong man has been charged.”
She said the timing of events, the investigation of the crime scene, and the science all show that Clegg did not commit the crime.
Shortly before the couple was killed on the Marsh Trail, surveillance video shows Clegg buying a rotisserie chicken and a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew at a local Shaw’s supermarket.
“He did not then leave Shaw’s with his rotisserie chicken and Mountain Dew to murder someone, people he did not know,” Smith told jurors. “He did not then rush with his rotisserie chicken up the Marsh Trail to lie in wait for two people he did not know.”
Clegg has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and other charges related to destroying evidence and lying to the police. In court, Clegg wore a blue collared shirt and black pants, looking noticeably thinner than in previous court appearances.
Around 30 people, including several members of the Reid family, looked on from the audience.
Hours after the couple was reported missing, police encountered Clegg in the woods, where he had been living for some time, according to an affidavit filed in the case. He falsely told them his name was Arthur Kelly, which Smith said warranted suspicion.
But the allegations that he burned his tent site, deleted information on his computer, and moved to Vermont had nothing to do with the killings, she said.
“He did not want to be found, but it wasn’t because of a murder,’’ she said. “He was a fugitive from Utah. He was on probation there. He was not supposed to leave the state [of Utah]. He went to Portugal” and lived there for several months.
Clegg had pleaded guilty in Utah to breaking into a gun store and stealing multiple firearms and was sentenced to probation, which he violated when he left the area.
Clegg returned to the United States from Portugal and moved to Concord in November 2021, Smith said. He camped in the woods near the Marsh Trail and worked at a McDonald’s, she said. And after police questioned him during the murder investigation, he burned his tent site and got rid of any physical evidence to avoid being tied to the Utah case, she said.
She said the threat of being jailed in Utah was also why he left Concord and moved to South Burlington, Vt., where he landed a job at a supermarket. Smith said Clegg was intent on returning to Europe and had saved $7,000 to pay for his ticket to Berlin.
Smith downplayed the prosecution’s ballistic evidence, saying 14 other gun makers produce firearms that could have been used to fire the two shell casings recovered near the shootings.
More significant, she said, was the casings were not discovered until a month after the murder, she said, after police had stopped securing the crime scene.
“They were not there when the place was searched right after the shooting,” she said. “Were they planted?”
She said canines trained to search for ballistics didn’t find anything during an initial search. She rotated between three poster board maps as she referred to the key locations in the case: a zoomed-out aerial map, a diagram of the path where the bodies were dragged away from the trail, and the location of the burnt campsite.
Smith also said that testing was conducted on three areas where the shooter might have left traces of DNA behind, like the belt, sock, and boot area. Two genetic profiles were discovered, she said.
“Not the Reids. And not Logan,” she said.
Karen Bill, a friend of the Reids who worked with them at the US Census, said the first day of the trial had been emotional.
“It’s an emotional thing because who just goes for a walk and then never comes home?” she said.
Bill described Stephen Reid as a nice, polite, and likable. Djeswende Reid, often called Wende by her friends, was “very outgoing,” said Bill, noting that both were soft spoken.
“It just seems like a senseless act of violence,” said Karen Silverberg, who had also befriended the Reids while working on the US Census.
This story has been updated with additional details.