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Salem Community Patriot December 3, 2010 - 5


Man Charged in Death of Wife, Case Heads to Rockingham County Grand Jury


by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz A Salem man charged in the death of his wife between Sunday, November 7, and Monday, November 8, at a residence in Auburn will have his case heard by a Rockingham County grand jury. Christopher Smeltzer, 37, of Salem


waived his right to a probable cause hearing held at Candia District Court on Monday, November 29. Three weeks prior to the hearing, New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said police in Auburn received a 911 call at 11:45 a.m. on Monday, November 8, from 257 Bunker Hill Road, stating that injured people were inside the residence. The details of the call have not been released. Once police arrived, they discovered a deceased woman identified as Mara (Pappalardo) Smeltzer, 39, of Salem, and also her deceased four-year-old son, Mason Smeltzer. Mara’s husband, Christopher Smeltzer, and their seven-year old daughter, Mercey, were taken from the home to Elliot Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Initially, Attorney Young released very little information regarding what occurred at the residence in Auburn, but late that Tuesday evening, a news release was sent out stating that Deputy Medical Examiner Jennie Duval had conducted autopsies on both Mara Pappalardo and Mason Smeltzer. Mara’s cause of death was blunt impact injuries to her head, along with ligature strangulation. Dr. Duval also concluded that the death of Mason Smeltzer was caused by ligature strangulation. Both deaths were ruled as homicides. The conclusion of the autopsy on Mara


Pappalardo resulted in charges against her husband, Christopher Smeltzer, 37, of Salem. He is charged with second-degree murder for the death of his wife. According to Assistant Attorney General Jane Young, Smeltzer’s charges are based solely on the fact that he struck his wife, Mara, with a flashlight. How the strangulation occurred has not been released. New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office, and the Auburn Police Department are still currently investigating the death of four-year-old Mason Smeltzer. Christopher Smeltzer has not been charged in the death of his son. On Tuesday, November 9, authorities from State Police and the Auburn Police Department conducted a search of the home after obtaining warrants. The New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit has a policy to refer all inquires about homicides in the state to be referred to the Attorney General’s Office, and refused to comment on the ongoing investigation. Assistant Attorney General Jane Young refuses to release the details of what may have happened inside the home on Bunker


Hill Road in Auburn between Sunday, November 7, and Monday, November 8, but did say firefighters who responded to the scene found the mother and her son deceased inside the residence and that they transported Christopher Smeltzer and his daughter, Mercey, to Elliot Hospital for non- life threatening injuries. She still will not elaborate as to what injuries the father and daughter had sustained. Christopher Smeltzer was arraigned at Candia District Court on Wednesday, November 10, entering no plea, as is routine in cases dealing with felony charges. Judge David LeFrancois ordered Smeltzer to be held without bail, and the bail has not been changed since his original arraignment. A judge has sealed the court affidavits related to the case at the request of the prosecution, so the facts to the case have still not been made public. Attorney Young has filed an objection to motions made by media outlets to unseal the records in an effort to keep the records sealed, as the Attorney General’s Office and State Police Major Crimes Unit continue to investigate both deaths, and also to not compromise the ongoing investigation. Media outlets and the public defender for Smeltzer, Attorney John Newman, had unsuccessfully appealed to have the records unsealed, as the details to what happened in the home are contained in those documents. However, defense attorneys Newman and Julia Nye were granted motions to allow them access to the documents to assist the defendant properly in this case. Attorney Young would only say that Smeltzer is charged with hitting his wife in the head with a flashlight and that the investigation into who killed four-year- old Mason is still being investigated. “Interviews are still being conducted and will continue to be over the next weeks,” Attorney Young said. Sources close to the investigation say


the tragedy that occurred in the Bunker Hill Road home began before the family arrived there sometime between Sunday and Monday. The family of both Mara Pappalardo and Christopher Smeltzer acknowledge the family had been having some problems and had moved back into the Salem home of Christopher Smeltzer’s mother, Dorothy, while working everything out.


During the summer months, Mara had filed for a parenting petition at Salem District Court. In the petition, she stated that she was planning to separate from her husband and was seeking custody of her two children. However, she never followed through with the petition, and it was essentially dropped. Anonymous sources close to the


investigation say that Mara Pappalardo allegedly strangled her son and was trying to strangle her daughter while her


husband had stepped out of the residence. Allegedly, he returned to the residence to find his wife attempting to kill the seven-year-old girl and, while intervening, struck Mara in the head several times with a flashlight, contributing to her death. However, the Attorney General’s office has not confirmed nor denied these allegations. Some sources close to the family also said that Ms. Pappalardo may have suffered from some sort of mental illness and that the family had allegedly tried many times to seek help for her, only to be let down because she did not have health insurance to cover treatment costs. Both Mara Pappalardo and Christopher Smeltzer come from very large families. The Attorney General’s office said that Mercey Smeltzer had been in state custody, but it is unknown at this time if she has been released from the state to her family. Family members made a statement after


the arraignment for Christopher Smeltzer at Candia District Court on Wednesday, November 10, saying their main concern at this time is caring for Mercey and addressing concerns for her well-being as well as mourning their loss, but did not answer questions asked by members of the media. Mara’s cousin, Adam Roz, commented, saying, “Mara and Chris loved each other very much and they loved their family.


Charlie with


Outdoors Gift Ideas


Chalk It’s important that people know that.


Something went very wrong in there.” Michele Harris, Mara’s sister, said in a statement, “The loss of Mason at such a young age is just unbearable. His chubby cheeks and big smile will remain in our hearts forever. Our families have been devastated by the loss of Mara and Mason. Mara was a devoted and loving mother. Her children meant the world to her. She had a wonderful soul with a limitless ability to love. We will miss her smile and her shining, black hair.” However, though family members from both sides were present at the probable cause hearing, all family members refused to comment to reporters. Assistant Attorney General Young made a brief statement outside of court on Monday, saying, “At this point, what we have charged him with is the blunt force trauma leading to her death.” Young would not elaborate as to how Mara Pappalardo was strangled, or who killed Mason Smeltzer. “The investigation into the child’s death is still ongoing. We need to make sure we have all the evidence before making a final determination,” Young said Because Smeltzer waived his right to a probable cause hearing, which is held to determine if the evidence is sufficient to uphold the charge, the prosecution now has 90 days to seek grand jury indictments in the case.


This holiday season, consider one of these great gift ideas when shopping for anyone in your life who loves to spend time outdoors. And while you’re at it, pick something up for yourself. This holiday, give the gift of successful fishing to the angler in your life with the Shakespeare Catch More Fish Combo (www.Shakespeare- Fishing.com). Using high-quality components to ensure success, the Shakespeare Catch More Fish Combo provides gift givers with a $15- 25 savings by offering the rod, reel, line, bait, and tackle in a single package. Plus, anglers get the quality assurance that comes with the Shakespeare, Berkley, and Stren names. The Shakespeare Catch More Fish Combo has everything needed for a successful day on the water. (MSRP $29.99-$39.99) Coleman Instant Tent: Tents big enough for the entire family usually take the entire family to set up. With the new Coleman Instant Tent (Coleman.com), this holiday gift can bring an end to fumbling in the dark for loose stakes and trying to attach an awkward rain fly before it starts pouring. The new, 14 × 10-foot, cabin-style Coleman Instant Tent is durable and spacious – ideal for extended-stay camping – and sets up or tears down in a minute or less. Featuring pre-attached poles secured to the ultra-durable 150D tent fabric, the Instant Tent needs only to be removed from its bag, unfolded, and have its poles extended and clicked into place. (MSRP $199) Stren Brute Strength is the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite


angler. Stren Brute Strength (Stren.com) monofilament fishing line provides extra strength while remaining more flexible and easier to cast with less memory and better handling than others in its class. Brute Strength is available in Clear/Blue Fluorescent and Lo-Vis Green and offered in pound tests ranging from 6 to 40 pounds. (MSRP $7.95-$15.95) Coleman Ultra High Power LED Aluminum Flashlight: Whenever


the power goes out, the outdoor enthusiast in your life will be ready with the Ultra High Power LED Aluminum Flashlight from Coleman (Coleman.com). Never before has so much power been contained within a single flashlight, which produces 500 night-shattering lumens with six, easy-to-find AA batteries. Using a Cree MC-ET LED, among the brightest and most powerful LEDs available, the new Coleman aluminum flashlight is weather-resistant, making it perfect for camping and other outdoor activities. (MSRP $79.99) A big thank-you to my friends at Blue Herron Communication for the help!


Charlie Chalk can be reached at outdoorswithcharlie@areanewsgroup.com DO YOU NEED TO BE HELD


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NH U.S. Attorney’s Office Recovers over $100 Million in Fiscal Year 2010


submitted by United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Hampshire The U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of New Hampshire


recovered over $100 million in Fiscal Year 2010, announced United States Attorney John P. Kacavas. In addition to the Criminal Division’s prosecution of criminal offenses, the Civil Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office also works to recover funds on behalf of the United States and victims of crime. This work primarily involves efforts to obtain financial recoveries from individuals or organizations that commit frauds against the United States and collect money from those who are required by courts to pay restitution, fines, or civil judgments to the United States. The recoveries in Fiscal Year 2010 were highlighted by the


payment of a total of $118 million by two pharmaceutical companies (Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and UDL Laboratories Inc.) to resolve allegations that they underpaid their Medicaid rebate obligations for several drugs. Under the Medicaid Rebate Program, participating drug distributors agree to pay rebates to Medicaid based on the amount of money the Medicaid program paid for each company’s drugs. The precise amount of a rebate is determined in part by whether a drug is considered an “innovator” or a “non- innovator” drug. Rebates for innovator drugs are higher than for non-innovator drugs. The companies allegedly sold innovator drugs produced by other manufacturers, but classified the drugs as non- innovator drugs to reduce their obligation to refund Medicaid under the rebate program. Because the Medicaid program is funded by the federal and state governments, both the federal government and the various states received a portion of this recovery, with over $60 million going to the federal government. This settlement was recently highlighted by the United States Department of Justice as one of the government’s most significant settlements in FY 2010. This $118 million recovery is an example of how the U.S. Attorney’s Office uses the False Claims Act to obtain civil recoveries against those who submit false or fraudulent claims to the United States. Under that law, the government can recover treble damages and $5,500 to $11,000 for each false or fraudulent claim filed. Other False Claims Act settlements in FY 2010 included


recoveries of $170,000 from a licensed clinical psychologist for submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid; over $120,000 from a staffing agency and hospital for improperly using the services of an individual who had been excluded from participating in federal health care programs; and over $56,000 from a grocery store operator who defrauded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called the food stamp program). All of the financial recoveries, including the Mylan settlement, were obtained via settlement agreements that did not include an admission of liability. In announcing this year’s recoveries, U.S. Attorney John Kacavas


said, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire is dedicated to identifying frauds committed against the government and ensuring that perpetrators do not profit at the expense of taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid. I personally want to recognize Assistant United States Attorney


John Farley for his hard work and perseverance in securing the largest, single civil settlement in New Hampshire history. Recovery of stolen taxpayer funds is a priority of this office and we will aggressively pursue and prosecute those who commit fraud against the government.” U.S. Attorney Kacavas also encourages those who are aware of healthcare fraud or other frauds against the United States to report those fraudulent schemes to federal law enforcement agencies.


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