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N.H. court upholds death sentence for former Roxbury man

Michael Addison was convicted of murdering Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs in 2006.AP/File

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has again approved the death sentence imposed on Michael K. Addison, a former Roxbury man convicted of murdering Manchester Officer Michael Briggs in 2006.

In a ruling posted Thursday, which the court said was the last it was required to make under the state’s death penalty statutes, five justices concluded that the death sentence was an appropriate sanction for a man who shot a police officer to death.

“We conclude that the defendant’s sentence is neither excessive nor disproportionate and, accordingly, affirm his sentence of death,’’ the justices wrote.

New Hampshire’s highest court had previously upheld Addison’s conviction in another ruling that found the death sentence that he received “was not imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor,’’ the court said.


New Hampshire has not executed anyone since 1939. The laws that led to the death sentence for Addison, 35, are so untested that the justices wrote that they needed to examine how courts in other states have addressed capital cases.

“No other defendant has been convicted of a capital crime and sentenced to death in this state since the Legislature adopted the current death penalty statute in 1977,’’ the justices wrote.

The court rejected a request by Addison’s lawyers that justices conduct their review based on statistics. The defense said that the death sentence was imposed in a small portion of 350 murder trials in which the victims were members of law enforcement.

“Our function is to identify an aberrant death sentence, not to search for proof that a defendant’s sentence is perfectly symmetrical with the penalty imposed in all other similar cases,’’ the justices wrote.

“The cases reveal . . . imposing death [sentences] in similar cases.’’

Addison shot Briggs in the head in Manchester on Oct. 16, 2006, and was tracked down and arrested by Boston police 15 hours later. He had taken refuge in a housing complex for the elderly on Beechwood Street in Dorchester.


He was the first person given the death sentence in decades in New Hampshire. The law identified seven instances that merit a death sentence, including murdering a law enforcement officer. A jury first convicted him of the murder and then approved the death sentence based in part on his extensive criminal history, according to the court.

Addison, a Roxbury native, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2008.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.