Chad Evans Wrongly Convicted

Links to articles about the Chad Evans Case, and related New Hampshire laws and cases (from the day after his 16 April 2002 sentencing to the present, in reverse chronological order)

(For articles with a broader, national and international look at wrongful convictions, see "Links to Articles - Wrongful Convictions generally")

 

25 April 2014.  Libertarian candidate for NH Governor, Max Abramson, embraces cause of the wrongly convicted.  He asks that the Chad Evans case be re-examined

Excerpts from the article:

"The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire decided to nominate me in order to talk about wrongful convictions and prosecutorial misconduct," said Albert "Max" Abramson....

If elected governor, one of his goal's is to work to help those convicted who claim innocence. He said he hopes to accomplish pardoning Rochester resident Chad Evans, who is currently imprisoned for the murder of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner, Evans' girlfriend's daughter, in 2000. "He was not even in the house at the time that (Kassidy) suffered the physical injuries that led to her death," Abramson said. "There was never any evidence linking Chad to this girl's death."  Evans has been trying to exonerate himself since his 2001 conviction. Will Delker, then-senior assistant attorney general, said in a June 11, 2010 Foster's Daily Democrat article that, while is was a "circumstantial case," there was "damning" testimony that contradicted Evans' testimonies.

See Hampton Leader article,"Convicted Seabrook resident running for governor," by Corinne Holroyd.

 

19 December 2013.  The Keene Sentinel published Chad fourth Letter to the Editor this year. 

Below is the entire letter....

Still fighting to clear my name, by Chad Evans
  Often things are not as they appear. We have a tendency to believe what is simple and convenient.
Electricity is not the only thing to follow the path of least resistance. Take my wrongful conviction in the death of Kassidy Bortner for example.
   Since 2000, I have “screamed” loudly to anyone willing to listen that I am innocent. I have willingly made myself available for any litmus test that would prove I’m being truthful.
   Unfortunately, in cases like mine, statistics show it is often the father figure who is responsible.
What do we do when it’s not? What happens when we dig below the surface and realize everything is not as “tidy” as the statistics would make it seem? Eighty percent of the time is a far cry from 100 percent after all.
   Fortunately for me, I have a dedicated group of individuals who are working hard to debunk the myth. These individuals have looked at all of the evidence without the preconceived notion that this was a homicide. Some working on my behalf have significant experience in the medical field and have dissected the autopsy and have found other, more plausible, explanations for Kassidy’s death which were never presented to the jury.
   Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project states, “DNA exonerations show us how the
criminal justice system is flawed...”
   The trouble is DNA evidence is only available in approximately 3 percent of all cases. If DNA were available in my case, I’m confident that I would have been home with my loved ones years ago. The thing about science is that it’s not affected by human emotions.
   There is nothing more taxing on our emotions than the death of a beautiful young child. It defies logic.  We are supposed to outlive our children, so this case is naturally emotional for all involved. I had nothing but love in my heart for Kassidy. I have nothing but empathy for the pain her family feels every day for their loss. But, I did not cause Kassidy’s death.
   I understand the police’s desire to solve the case quickly. I don’t begrudge the jury, as they can only base their opinion on the scant amount they are presented. Like all of you, I have made poor decisions at times and done things that I regret. However, I again emphatically state, I had NOTHING to do with causing Kassidy’s death. It’s time to right this wrong and I need your help.
   Please contact Morrison Bonpasse at morrison@chadevanswronglyconvicted.org or write me
directly to see what you can do.
Chad Evans

 

 

9 October 2013.  The Keene Sentinel published Chad's third Letter to the Editor this year. 

Below is the entire letter....

A closer look is needed, by Chad Evans
     My sister, Nicole Evans-Mahoney, just sought and passed a polygraph test with regards to seeing Kassidy Bortner four days prior to her death.
     Significantly, there were a number of other adults who made observations of Kassidy’s overall good health and a strong bond between Kassidy and myself during that same full-day visit, including a 20-plus year school nurse that would have contradicted trial testimony had the police taken the time to interview each of these individuals.
     I have vehemently denied involvement in Kassidy’s death for 13 years. I passed a Voice Stress Analysis (VSA) lie detection test with No Deception Indicated (NDI) and have requested to take a polygraph test at my expense. Unfortunately, the prison warden has denied permission and everyone from Attorney General Foster to Gov. Hassan has refused to overturn this decision. Comparatively, it’s odd that the alternative suspect in Kassidy’s death refused to take a polygraph exam after one was scheduled for him by the police.
     Wrongful convictions don’t only happen in other parts of the country or on television. You have an innocent man from your community serving a 43-year-to-life sentence. I am innocent and need your help. Please visit our website at chadevanswronglyconvicted.org for a full case profile.
     I have the utmost respect for police, juries and judges, but I also know they are human. Occasionally, emotions can get the best of any of us and we can make mistakes, especially when it is a terrible tragedy such as Kassidy’s untimely death.
     Please contact Gov. Hassan’s office and demand a reinvestigation of this case, or, at a minimum, that I be allowed to take a polygraph test. It’s your $36,000 per year in tax dollars keeping an innocent man locked up.
     Gov. Hassan can be reached at 271-2121 or governorhassan@nh.gov.
Chad Evans #75414
P.O. Box 14
Concord

 

3 June 2013.  The Keene Sentinel published Chad's second Letter to the Editor  this year. 

Below is the entire letter....

The truth must come out, by Chad Evans
Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013 8:00 am
    I appreciate those of you that have taken the time to look at my website, chadevanswronglyconvicted.org, and offer opinions about other possible causes for Kassidy Bortner's tragic death other than homicide.
    I am currently petitioning the state to allow me to take a polygraph lie detection test at my own expense to help prove my innocence. Interestingly, during the original investigation, the police asked only the person that spent the last four hours with Kassidy while she was alive if he would take a polygraph and when he refused there was no follow up.
    In the years since my conviction, my innocence committee has hired an expert to give me a Voice Stress Lie Detection Test (VSA). I passed, "No Deception Indicated" (NDI). We then found a professional to administer a polygraph exam, which I again passed (NDI), until there were errors found in the polygrapher's testing procedures, so the test was eventually deemed invalid.
  Not satisfied, my advocate, Morrison Bonpasse, went out and found the former president of the American Polygraph Association to administer another test at my expense and the Attorney General's Office is blocking my efforts to take a test at the prison. Why? Shouldn't the attorney general care about what really happened to Kassidy, especially when it isn't costing the taxpayers of New Hampshire anything for me to take the test? In fact, the greatest cost to taxpayers is the $36,000 per year it is costing them to keep an innocent man incarcerated. When did pride and being "right" become more important than someone's life?
    At the time of Kassidy's death, emotions were running high for all involved and the only question on the police docket seemed to be, "who did this?" vs. "what happened to this child/ was their something medically wrong with her?"
    Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons, some of them my fault, some dealing with statistics, I became the person the police focused on immediately, to the exclusion of all others. In this way, the police became convinced that the "who done it" part of the case was largely solved.
    After more than 250 hours searching my house and property, the police found zero physical evidence that I ever physically assaulted Kassidy. Instead, the case went forward leaning heavily on the circumstantial evidence of others' statements. With their focus exclusively on me, the investigators overlooked incongruities in these statements which may have allowed potential suspects to develop stories and claims to protect their own interests.
  Please contact Governor Hassan's office, (govenorhassan@nh.gov, 271-2121), immediately in support of a polygraph test for Chad Evans and a reinvestigation into Kassidy Bortner's death.

30 April 2013.  Chad Letter to the Editor  published in Keene Sentinel. 

The letter begins....

    My name is Chad Evans. I was born and raised in Keene. Unfortunately, I now live at the N.H. State Prison in Concord. I have been fighting my wrongful conviction for the second-degree murder of Kassidy Bortner for more than a decade.
   I graduated from Keene High in 1990 and soon after ran for, and was elected to, the Keene Board of Education. A promotion at work prompted a move to the Seacoast of New Hampshire in 1992 and away from the community I loved. While living in Rochester, I excelled at my job, earning several more promotions. I married, gained a stepson, had a son, and, unfortunately, later divorced.
   In June 2000, I met and quickly fell in love with Amanda Bortner and her daughter Kassidy. Amanda and Kassidy became part of our lives and we enjoyed doing things as a family.
   Unfortunately, tragedy struck in November 2000 and Kassidy died five hours after Amanda dropped her off to be babysat in Kittery, Maine. She was 21-months-old.
Kassidy had mysterious bruising at the time of her death, the likes of which no one had ever seen previously. This was a very emotional situation for all involved and a rushed, rather than a thorough, investigation into what might have happened to Kassidy ensued.
....

5 November 2012.  A Statement Analysis specialist, Peter Hyatt of Maine, has begun analyzing the Chad Evans case.  

See (including visitor comments): 

Nov. 2, 2012   Statement Analysis: Chad Evans on Death of Kassidy Bortner

Nov. 3, 2012   Tristan Evans: Statement Analysis of Assault

Nov. 4, 2012   Chad Evans Murder: Police Version  

Nov. 4, 2012    Chad Evans Case: Part Three

Nov. 5, 2012   Statement Analysis: Chad Evans Football Party

                        [Note: This rumored "football party" never occurred. See EYE CONTACT,

                        pages 264-65. 

11 July 2012.  Unpublished submission to the "My Turn" Op-Ed column in the Concord Monitor by Morrison Bonpasse, "Time for Justice for Chad Evans."

Excerpts from the column.....

    What should the Attorney General do when facts come to light which support the innocence of a man convicted of a serious crime, and when that man’s jury did not see those facts?  That’s the question now facing Attorney General Michael Delaney regarding the Chad Evans case....
  ...When cracks were observed two years ago on the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, it was quickly re-inspected, found defective; and then dismantled.   As serious cracks in the case against Chad Evans have been presented, why not re-investigate the death of Kassidy Bortner, and then, when the facts are acknowledged, dismantle his wrongful conviction?

6 May 2012  Foster's Daily Democrat publishes article, "Convicted child killer seeks retrial following lie detector test" by Scott E. Kinney.

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER — A local man convicted of the killing of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner in December 2000 is again seeking to have the case reopened following the results a voluntary lie detector test....
    It is the second such test since July 2010, when Evans passed a Voice Stress Analysis test, said Bonpasse.
   "Chad Evans never hit or spanked Kassidy Bortner," Bonpasse said. "He's been imprisoned for 11 years for something he did not do. It's important that he passed this test. He volunteered for it. I think it supports his effort very strongly."  Bonpasse said he and Evans have appealed to Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Strelzin to support their request for reinvestigation. Bonpasse said Evans will be appealing to the N.H. Supreme Court in the coming months.
   "Chad is the only person in the whole case who has taken a lie-detector test," said Bonpasse. "The state of NH rely on lie detector tests," while adding lie detector test results are not admissible in court in the Granite State.
   "Based on my experience as a former prosecutor, these are tools and they have their use in investigative settings," said Charles Putnam, co-director of Justice Works at the University of New Hampshire. "The tools are somewhat controversial. Within the law enforcement field there's some question as to the reliability and underlying science."...

26 December 2011  Keene Sentinel Editorial against the New Hampshire Death Penalty: "The Legislature gets set to expand the death penalty, regardless of cost"   Morrison Bonpasse posted a comment, arguing that the wrongful conviction of Chad Evans for murder shows the realistic possibility of execution of an innocent person.

His comment began...

  Another argument against the death penalty is the possibility of executing a wrongly convicted, but innocent person.  Some say that the chances of convicting an innocent person in a capital case are “infinitessimal” in New Hampshire.  However, many of the 282 wrongly convicted people exonerated by the Innocence Project since 1989 were originally sentenced to death.  In New Hampshire, Chad Evans, formerly of Keene, was wrongly convicted in 2001 of second degree murder, which has nearly the same elements as first degree murder.  In 1991, Chad was elected to the Keene Board of Education, and in 1997 he was given a “Hero” award by the Union Leader and Governor Shaheen for saving three men’s lives and in 2001 he was convicted of murdering 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.   Huh?

25 November 2011.  Bob Arnold, of Rochester, writes Letter to the Editor of Foster's Daily Democrat in opposition to Chad Evans request for re-investigation of his case. 

The letter is presented, in its entirety below...

   To the editor: I'm writing to you as a concerned citizen. My concern is the recent efforts and claims made by the Chad Evans Wrongly Convicted Committee.
   There has been considerable effort by members of the CEWCC to gain support for a reinvestigation of this case. These efforts include the publishing of a book, "Eye Contact" which is filled with fictional accounts of Chad's demeanor, biased and unsubstantiated claims about his behavior, as well as a gross attempt at portraying Evans as a "loving, caring, nurturing family man." This couldn't be further from the truth.
    The police interviewed many individuals who had a different opinion of Chad Evans. In summary, Chad was a manipulative, lying, self-centered abusive person who had a history of violent assault. Contrary to his claims, he refused to cooperate with the police investigation. He lied to the police detectives, withheld information and intentionally distorted facts.
     While out on bail, Chad willfully and intentionally violated one of the most important bail conditions that were in place: He maintained continuous contact with Amanda Bortner, the state's star witness, for the sole purpose of manipulating her testimony.
   Feel free to visit my website, chadevansguilty.com for further, factual evidence concerning this case.

[Note, the alleged quotation by Bob Arnold from the book EYE CONTACT, does not come from the book.  Its source is unknown.]

23 October 2011.  New Hampshire Sunday News (Union Leader) publishes front page, 1,450 word, article about Chad Evans case.  "Investigator: Questions linger in childís murder"  The article was written by Kimberly Houghton.

The free introduction at the Union Leader Website reads:

    "Nearly 11 years after 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner died, the man convicted of her murder is still maintaining his innocence."

[A full copy is available online to Union Leader digital subscribers, and a one-day susbscription is available for $2.00.]

3 October 2011.  "Building bonds through walls - Family center at prison gets a home"  by Annemarie Timmins in the Concord Monitor.

The article about the State Prison's Family Connections Center (FCC) begins...

  Kevin, Scott and Jarrod are all doing time at the state prison in Concord. But they can still read their kids bedtime stories, help them with homework and chat with their children over lunch thanks to the prison's Family Connections Center.
It just takes some creativity to build that family bond through a prison wall. When it comes to bedtime stories, the fathers record themselves reading a book and then send home the book and the recording for their kids to enjoy. Even better in these economic times: the books and CDs are donated.

[Annemarie Timmins is married to former Asst. Atty General, and prosecutor of Chad Evans, N. William Delker.  He is now a Superior Court judge.   The article is posted on this website because Chad Evans is one of the more active participants in the Family Connections Center, but his name is not mentioned in the article.]

16 September 2011. Videos and Transcripts of the two August 2, 2011 interviews on Rep. Dick Patten's "Around Town" program on Concord Community Television. 

Both of Rep. Dick Patten's interviews on Concord TV about the Chad Evans case have been broadcast 12 times on Biddeford Public Access TV, through October 16, 2011, and more are expected on that station and other Maine and New Hampshire Community TV stations.

     Video of Interview 1: Dick Patten int. Morrison Bonpasse and Becky Boudreau

     (available soon)

    Transcript of Interview 1.

     Video of Interview 2: Dick Patten int. Morrison Bonpasse and Jessica Robinson

     (available soon)

    Transcript of Interview 2.

25 February 2011. Letter to the Editor, Foster's Daily Democrat from  Attorney Robert Fisher, "Evans Innocent."

Excerpts from the letter...

    To the editor: I have knowledge concerning the facts of Chad Evans' innocence....
    When the case came to trial in New Hampshire, Chad's defense attorney chose to put all of his eggs in one basket and called an eminent forensic expert who said that Chad could never have committed the crime. Chad Evans did not even testify. After being out for days, the jury came back with a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder.

   Mr. Marshall sued Chad for defamation in claiming that Mr. Marshall was the killer. I represented Chad on that case. Mr. Marshall's lawyer who is an experienced attorney chose to drop that case after Chad Evans was deposed by him at the New Hampshire State Prison.
   The State of New Hampshire is paying a great sum of money to keep Chad in prison. I believe that the cost to incarcerate a prisoner is in excess of $30,0000 per year.
   Unfortunately, there are many innocent people who are in jail. Obviously, most of the prisoners are guilty, but I believe that Chad Evans is not one of them.
   He is a human being and there for the grace of God go you and I. He has been punished too much already.
Robert E. Fisher
Dover
 

11 February 2011. Letter to the Editor, Foster's Daily Democrat from Ernie Osborne, "Give It Up"

The letter in its entirety...

To the editor: I must write as a human being and parent of a wonderful somebody who was once 21 months old I am sickened by Chad Evans' insistence of his innocence despite doctor upon doctor's expert and considered testimony Kassidy Bortner's cumulative bruises and broken bones could not possibly be attributed to any such bizarre series of "accidents" as shameless Mr. Evans continues to beg.
  Give it up, son. The people of New Hampshire have spent enough money prosecuting you. The only redemption you're ever going to buy is that you're still alive at all.
Ernie Osborne
Rollinsford

10 February 2011.  WMUR-TV broadcasts "10 Years After Child's Death, Chad Evans Maintains Innocence - Rochester Man Says He Was Wrongly Convicted Of Murder"

See TRANSCRIPT of broadcast.  See, also, TRANSCRIPT of Chad Evans's recollection of interview with Sean McDonald.  See, also Chad's 23 Jan. 2011  LETTER  to Sean McDonald, following his in-prison interview.

The written WMUR article in its entirety...

CONCORD, N.H. -- Ten years ago, 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner was rushed to a hospital and died. Chad Evans, her mother's boyfriend, was found guilty of second-degree murder.
    But Evans has always maintained his innocence and now, there is a new movement to get a second look at his case.
    Evans was convicted in a circumstantial case based on witness testimony. His family and supporters were stunned by the verdict.
  From the state prison in Concord, Evans continued to say he is innocent.  "I absolutely did not kill Kassidy Bortner," he said. "I had nothing to do with abusing her or her death."
  Evans and Amanda Bortner moved in together in Rochester in the summer of 2000.    Kassidy was Amanda Bartner's daughter from a previous relationship.
    According to the attorney general's office, a pattern of abuse soon started that was so severe it would eventually cause Kassidy's death a few months later.
   "I never spanked her, never slapped her, kicked her," Evans said. "Never threw her into walls."
    Evans said he doesn't know how Kassidy died, but he said the state didn't consider other possible alternatives for her death.
  He said Kassidy had many childhood falls and accidents that could explain her injuries. He admitted causing some bruises, but not intentionally.
  "Either I held her face too firmly or too long," he said. "We don't know why she bruised so easily. I've held my son's face in his younger years, and never had he bruised. It's a mystery."
    Evans also pointed out that Kassidy was in the care of a babysitter the morning she died, but Evans said investigators still focused on him.
   "It was so focused and streamlined that, 'This guy is the one. Let's make the investigation fit that,'" Evans said. "They didn't look anywhere else there might have been evidence."
    Investigators said they did look at the babysitter but ruled him out as a suspect.
    A website has been set up by a family friend called Chad Evans Wrongly Convicted that spells out what his supporters call new evidence. Supporters said Kassidy's blood was found under her own fingernails, something not discussed at the trial.
   "If someone's testifying she was lying there nonresponsive all morning, how did she get blood under every one of her fingernails?" Evans said.
    Evans also said he recently passed a lie detector test about the case. He said police also didn't look closely enough at the possibility Kassidy died from a head injury from a recent fall.
   "I have friends, supporters who thought right off the bat, 'Something's wrong with this case. It doesn't make any sense,'" Evans said.
  But there is another side to the story. The state said numerous witnesses reported that   Kassidy had many bruises leading up to her death. At trial, the medical examiner said Kassidy's injuries were severe and consistent with abuse, not accidents.
    Evans also has a history of abuse with adults. He was found guilty of assaulting his former wife and Kassidy's mother.
    Evans also said Kassidy looked OK in the hours before she was sent to the babysitter, but her body told a different story, according to trial testimony. Experts said she had multiple bruises, some old and some new.
  A jury saw that as evidence to convict. Evans is now serving an enhanced sentence of 43 years. He will be eligible for parole when he reaches his 70s.
He said he spends his time reading, writing letters and hoping someone will see his case differently.
  "I keep searching every day for truth," he said. "Maybe someone else will come forward with some other piece of evidence out there."
Evans said he hopes the state will take a second look at his case, but the attorney general's office said that it has so far seen nothing to cast doubt on his conviction.
     News 9 tried to reach Amanda Bortner for comment through a friend, but she said she wasn't ready to talk.

8 February 2011.  Foster's Daily Democrat publishes "Convicted killer of toddler Kassidy Bortner trying to reopen his case" by Jake T. O'Donnell. See also TRANSCRIPT OF CHAD'S INTERVIEW  as recalled by Chad from memory.

The article begins...

  CONCORD — Nine years into a state prison sentence likely to last the rest of his life, Chad Evans maintains he didn't kill 21-month-old toddler Kassidy Bortner.

  Evans has been incarcerated since 2002 for killing Bortner, the daughter of Evans' then-girlfriend, Amanda Bortner. Kassidy died at the Kittery, Maine, home of Jeffrey Marshall, Amanda's sister's boyfriend, on Nov. 9, 2000.

  As the days and months go by, Evans feels new evidence — and a groundswell of support — may one day set him free.

28 January 2011.  Concord Monitor publishes COMMENT  comparing Ward Bird case to that of Chad Evans, in comment to "My Turn" Letter to the Monitor:  "Executive Council will hear what Bird jury missed"

By morrisonbonpasse - 01/28/2011 - 11:24 am
Ward Bird and Chad Evans share three characteristics:
1. They both were recongized as "heroes" by the Union Leader for saving lives in the

    1990's, and
2. They both were persuaded not to testify at their own trials, and
3. They both were wrongly convicted.

   Chad Evans was wrongly convicted in 2001 of assaulting and murdering Kassidy Bortner in 2000. For more information about his case see www.chadevanswronglyconvicted.org.
The juries in both cases saw only part of the evidence. In Chad's case, the jury did not see photographs of the apparently healthy Kassidy only 20 days before she died. The jury did not know of DNA tests performed by the Maine State Police, showing that the blood under Kassidy's fingernails (about which the jury also did not know) belonged to her. The jury did not know that Chad had encouraged Kassidy's mother to see a doctor for a wart on one finger and for her apparent foot-inward problem. Kassidy did go to the doctor on August 10, 2000 and September 11, 2000, but the jury did not know of these appointments and it convicted him of abuse beginning in August. Chad has served almost 10 years in prison for something he didn't do, and has asked the States of Maine and New Hampshire to reinvestigate the case.

1 January 2011. The Union Leader published the Associated Press story by Nick Quinn, as "Convict argues new evidence helps him" (see NECN, below, at 30 December)

31 December 2010. Chad's case is featured in a video segment of the news on WMUR-TV, Channel 9, with Sean McDonald.  Click on "Convicted Murderer Says New Evidence Proves His Innocence."

[See TRANSCIPT of program, and WORD copy of ONLINE COMMENTS.]

30 December 2010.  WMUR-TV - "Man Guilty In Child Death Wants Case Reopened - Chad Evans Says New Evidence Discovered" updated since article below: 

CONCORD, N.H. -- A 39-year-old New Hampshire man convicted of second-degree murder in 2001 for beating 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner to death wants Maine and New Hampshire to open a new investigation in his case.

  Chad Evans argues new evidence has been discovered. The Portsmouth Herald reported that he has petitioned the governors and attorneys general of Maine and New Hampshire, saying he was wrongfully convicted. Bortner died in Kittery, Maine.

  A private investigator hired by Evans' family has created a web site, www.chadevanswronglyconvicted.org, about the case. The private investigator, Morrison Bonpasse, said the new evidence includes a DNA test conducted on blood found under the girl's fingernails that shows the blood was her own. Bonpasse said that test wasn't presented at the trial and contradicts some of the testimony.

  The other evidence is a napkin found at the home with male saliva on it, Bonpasse said. He said it isn't clear whose saliva it was or whether it relates to the case, but he said the jury should have heard about it.

  After the toddler's death, lawmakers passed the "Bortner Law," which requires the state to disclose what it knew about fatal or near-fatal child abuse cases if state agencies had some involvement.

[See "Comments"  posted by readers at WMUR-TV website.]

30 December 2010. NECN - New England Cable Network "NH man guilty in child death wants case reopened" [text, same as Foster's Daily Democrat below.] See similar story in the Boston Globe, "NH man guilty in child death wants case reopened"

See similar story, based on the Associated Press article by Nick Quinn, for WTSN-AM radio, "Man Guilty in Child Death Wants Case Reopened"

30 December 2010. Foster's Daily Democrat.  "Evans wants Kassidy Bortner case reopened"

The article in full....

  CONCORD, N.H. -- A 39-year-old New Hampshire man convicted of second-degree murder in 2001 for beating 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner to death wants Maine and New Hampshire to open a new investigation in his case.
     Chad Evans argues new evidence has been discovered. The Portsmouth Herald reported that he has petitioned the governors and attorneys general of Maine and New Hampshire, saying he was wrongfully convicted. Bortner died in Kittery, Maine.
    A private investigator hired by Evans' family has created a web site, www.chadevanswronglyconvicted.org, about the case.
     After the toddler's death, lawmakers passed the "Bortner Law," which requires the state to disclose what it knew about fatal or near-fatal child abuse cases if state agencies had some involvement.

30 December 2010.  WMUR-TV "Man Guilty In Child Death Wants Case Reopened - Chad Evans Says New Evidence Discovered"  [Same text as above article from Foster's Daily Democrat.  In addition, the links to previous WMUR programs about the case were provided.]

29 December 2010.  Portsmouth Herald, front page article, "Baby killer seeks probe, pardon"  by Deborah McDermott. For image of printed newspaper page see PRINTED VERSION. [See same article in Concord Monitor, 30 December, "Convicted killer seeks probe, pardon"† ]

The article begins....

    A man convicted of second-degree murder in the beating death of a 21-month-old girl in 2000 has petitioned the governors and attorneys general of New Hampshire and Maine for a pardon or reinvestigation, saying he has spent the last eight years in jail, wrongfully convicted in the death.

    Chad Evans, now 39, formerly of Rochester, was convicted in April 2002 with assaulting young Kassidy Bortner on a number of occasions leading up to her death in November 2000. She died at the Kittery, Maine, home of her babysitter.

Evans is serving a 43 years-to-life sentence at the state prison in Concord. But he said new material, including DNA evidence, has come to light in his case.

[The online article provided links to two previous Portsmouth Herald stories about the case, "Emotional Evans gets 28 years to life for tot's murder"  and "Evans convicted of murder"] Also, see this article posted at www.truthinjustice.org  at http://truthinjustice.org/chad-evans.htm.]

17 December 2010. "NH pols, others seek release of imprisoned man"  by Norma Love, Associated Press.

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire House Speaker William O'Brien delivered a petition to Gov. John Lynch on Friday asking him to pardon a man who was imprisoned for waving a gun to warn away a trespasser who got lost and asked him for directions....
   O'Brien gave Lynch a petition signed by 117 state representatives. He called Bird's incarceration a miscarriage of justice.
"Any one of us has the right to tell a stranger to leave," said O'Brien. He said that includes showing a gun to emphasize the request. O'Brien said the law used to jail Bird needs to be revisited.
   Lynch said Bird's request is going through the application process to the council, which must vote on pardon requests.
Lynch said he will wait to see the application to decide what to do. Lynch reiterated that he does not believe pardons should be granted unless there has been "either an exceptional circumstance or a gross miscarriage of justice."

[See also, Laconia Citizen, 18 December 2010, "Effort to 'Free Bird' continues" ]

17 December 2010.  "House speaker, 100 others seek Ward Bird's release; song set to debut at concert tonight"  in the Union Leader.

Excerpts from the article...

...Bird has filed a pardon application, which takes several weeks to process, but O'Brien wants Lynch to grant his release before Christmas.
    Lynch has said pardons should be reserved for gross miscarriages of justice. O'Brien is meeting with Lynch Friday to discuss the situation....

16 December 2010. Letter to the Editor, "Wrongly Convicted" Foster's Daily Democrat by Becky Boudreau.

Her letter in its entirety...

To the editor: The taxpayers in the state of New Hampshire have spent at least $300,000 in the last 10 years by keeping an innocent man in prison.
    This costly bill is not ours, it's Maine's.
    It's time to release Chad Evans and take back our tax dollars.
    Please sign the online petition to Maine and New Hampshire to reinvestigate the Chad Evans case. Chad was wrongly convicted in 2001, as is explained at his website, www.chadevanswronglyconvicted.org. Thanks very much.
    It's at www.change.org/petitions/view/request_that_maine_and_new_hampshire_to_re-investigate_the_chad_evans_case
Becky Boudreau
Rochester

[See also PRINTED VERSION  of letter.]

13 December 2010.  "Connecting to the outside - Fathers in prison learn to appreciate the little things"  by Ray Duckler in the Concord Monitor.  See, also ONLINE COMMENT TO ARTICLE  by Morrison Bonpasse.

Excerpts from the article (including mention of Chad Evans, though not of his innocence]....

   The inmates read once a week in a narrow room deep in the state prison, behind a series of doors and bars that buzz before unlocking. The program sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council is called Connections, and it's intended to close a gap wider than the Grand Canyon.
    Inmates - and later, their kids - read the same material. The younger children listen to tapes. Parent and child then discuss the writing, on the phone or during visits. It's about forming bonds and parenting skills and, hopefully, an appreciation for what the men are missing on the outside. Sara Backer of Nashua, the Connections facilitator, leads the class, drawing her students out, injecting them with ideas, paving the way for interaction.
    She reminds them that poetry is interpretive, that their impressions are never wrong, that the material always contains turning points and surprises. And, surprising to an outsider observing them on this day, the prisoners are thoughtful in their responses, layered, measured and articulate. They don't seem like criminals at all.
Chad Evans of Keene is serving 43 years to life for second-degree murder; he's eight years in. Evans is 39; his son 13.
   "It's all about nature and doing things with your kids," said Evans, commenting on Owl Moon. "It's about absorbing everything with all your senses."

    That's a central theme in these sessions, a byproduct of being locked up while the world spins by. Appreciation for the little things. Appreciation for the big things, too.

6 December 2010.  "Judge a man by his character? Bird watchers keep freedom fight alive"   by Ray Duckler in the Concord Monitor.

The column begins....

   Without video or eyewitness accounts, does Ward Bird's apple-pie resume really matter?
Does it matter that Bird, a 49-year-old Moultonboro farmer, worked with the Boy Scouts in his town? Or that he helped renovate the local historical society building? Or that his daughter studies civil engineering in college? Or that he works hard on the family farm? Or that friends trust him with their kids? Or that he saved a woman, a perfect stranger, from drowning?
Does it?
A growing number of Bird watchers say yes.

[To a growing number of Evans watchers, too, character matters.]

24 November 2010.  "Prison officials let Ward Bird move to county jail"  by Kathryn Marchocki  in the Union Leader.

Excerpts from the article....

    State prison officials Tuesday agreed to let Moultonborough farmer Ward Bird serve out his state prison sentence at his local county jail....

    The transfer likely will occur in the next few weeks after final details are worked out and Bird completes the intake process at New Hampshire State Prison in Concord, Lyons said.

23 November 2010.  A second Union Leader "Hero", Ward Bird, was imprisoned in New Hampshire this week. Chad Evans is the other.  See the Union Leader article by Roger Amsden "21 years ago, now-jailed Ward Bird was a hero" 

Excerpt from the article....

   Unable to open the door on his own, Bird yelled for help. John Calarusso heard the call and responded, jumping into the icy water also. The two of them forced the door open and, with assistance from Steve Peoples, they got Wiggin on top of the vehicle and then carried her to a nearby pickup truck before an ambulance arrived.
"He was incredible. That's the kind of man you want as a neighbor," Wiggin said.
Bird and the other two were honored as heroes by the New Hampshire Union Leader in March 1990....

[Almost exactly 10 years ago, the Union Leader wrote on 22 November 2000 that the accused Chad Evans was also a Union Leader Hero.  The article,  "Hearing in death is delayed," stated...

    In November 1996, Evans -- a McDonald's manager -- helped pull two people out of a burning vehicle, and suffered burns and smoke inhalation himself in the process. He was later recognized with a Union Leader Hero Award for his efforts.

The previous day, 21 November, Foster's Daily Democrat gave more details in its story, "Bail set for man accused in baby's death" which stated....

A different side of Evans was brought to light Nov. 1, 1996, when he risked his own life to help the victims of a serious car accident on Route 125 in front of his home....    Evans was commended for saving the lives of Peter J. Rodgers, 21, of Dover; Christian A. Pare, 21, of Milton; and Mitchell E. Hartford, 21, of Sanbornville.]


11 June 2010  "Rochester child killer seeks exoneration: Hires private investigator in effort to clear his name"  by Joey Cresta in Foster's Daily Democrat.

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER — A local man sentenced to what could become life in prison for the 2000 murder of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner has hired a private investigator who runs an "exoneration services" business in an effort to clear his name....

   Evans denies on the website ever striking Kassidy, saying, "I never hit Kassidy. Not for discipline, nor for any reason."
    Evans did not testify in his defense and never spoke publicly about the case, which Bonpasse believes was a major mistake. He said the jury never had a chance to hear from a "good man" and "loving father." Evans was also never asked to take a lie-detector test, he said.


16 June 2008 "DCYF goal: permanent homes for foster children" Union Leader/New Hampshire Sunday News by Nancy West

Excerpts from the article...

  The division has been criticized in the past for being too quick to remove children from their parents. It has also been criticized for acting too late, as in the case of Kassidy Bortner, a 21-month-old Rochester girl who was beaten to death by her mother's live-in boyfriend. At trial, the public learned that DCYF had been notified of alleged abuse more than a week before the girl died, on Nov. 9, 2000.
    Chad Evans, the Rochester man convicted of repeatedly abusing and finally killing Kassidy was sentenced to 43 years to life in prison. Kassidy's mother, Amanda Bortner, was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of failing to protect her.
     Lawmakers ultimately passed the Bortner Law, which requires DCYF to make public more information on abuse cases that result in death or near death.

29 April 2008  "Child Advocates Laud State for Abuse Policy  by Norma Love, Associated Press in the Concord Monitor.  (See same article in the Boston Globe, "N.H. praised for child abuse disclosure law") and in Portsmouth Herald, "Law formed after local toddler Kassidy Bortner's death leads N.H. to achieve 'A' grade for child abuse policy"

The article begins.... 

   Eight years ago, 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner of Concord [sic] died after being beaten horrifically - including being thrown into a closet door - by her mother's boyfriend, Chad Evans....

   Four years after the toddler's death, lawmakers passed the "Bortner Law" which requires the state to disclose what it knew about fatal - or near-fatal child abuse cases in which state agencies had some oversight over the family.... "

   "So far, the New Hampshire law inspired by Kassidy's death has not been used. 'There haven't been child deaths that fit within this circumstance,' said Associate Health and Human Services Commissioner Nancy Rollins."

7 September 2006 "Court won't reduce murderer's sentence"  Union Leader, by Russ Choma

Excerpts from the article...

BRENTWOOD -- The state's Supreme Court has denied an effort to reduce the sentence of a Rochester man convicted of abusing, then killing, his girlfriend's 21-month old daughter....
  Bortner died in Nov. 2000, after suffering from what medical experts testified was battered-child syndrome. Autopsy results revealed that she suffered from blunt force injuries to her head and abdomen....
  Senior assistant attorney general Will Delker, who argued the case for the state, said the Supreme Court¹s ruling is significant on several levels.
  On the most basic, he said, it's supportive of the state's decision to go for a tougher sentence.  "This murder was very brutal --­ a very disturbing homicide of a 21-month old," Delker said.  "She was abused over a long period of time, and we felt that the sentence the trial judge handed down just didn't fit the crime.  "It's vindication for Kassidy Bortner," he said.
  Evans' attorney in the appeals process, David Rothstein, of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, declined to comment.
  In a press release sent yesterday, Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams said the Supreme Court's ruling affirms the principle he supported when he helped write the amendment to the law that allowed the state to seek sentence review....
"While the state utilizes the Sentence Review Board in an average of nine percent of cases that are reviewed, it is an important protection to protect uniformity in sentencing," Reams said.
  Delker agreed with Reams.  "(Supreme Court justices) rejected that argument and said the process isn't done until it's done," he said, referring to Evans' argument of "double jeopardy."
  The state is only permitted to ask for sentence review in cases where the sentence is more than 12 months in prison.

7 September 2006 "Killer's sentence is upheld" Portsmouth Herald, by Karen Dandurant

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD -- A former Rochester man convicted of repeatedly abusing and finally killing his girlfriend's young daughter has lost his attempt at a shorter sentence.
  The state Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of the state's right to review sentences when it extended the prison time of Chad Evans last year. The court held that a statute amendment, which allows the state to utilize the Sentence Review Board, did not violate ex post facto, due process and double jeopardy claims....
  The 2001 case shocked the public after an autopsy report showed that Kassidy had died as a result of "multiple blunt force injuries that caused bleeding and swelling in the brain, bleeding in her optic nerve and internal bleeding in her abdomen." Her case prompted the passage of the Kassidy Law, which makes it a felony for a person who witnesses child abuse to fail to report it.
  Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said the state is very pleased by Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling.  "It has been a long process to get to this point, almost six years, and we are happy the court found increased sentences are constitutional," said Delker. "We believe the sentence is appropriate for the crimes he committed. The case has been up and down and back and forth, particularly on the sentence review. Now this brings some finality to the victim's family."
  It was Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams who drafted the amendment to give the state the right to utilize the Sentence Review Board.  "I argued in the Legislature that it was constitutional," said Reams. "The Supreme Court has again rejected the arguments that it is unconstitutional. While the state utilizes the Sentence Review Board in an average of 9 percent of the cases that are reviewed, it is an important protection to promote uniformity in sentencing."
  Material from The Associated Press was used in the story.

6 September 2006 "State Supreme Court upholds Evansí sentence" Keene Sentinel by Meanie Plenda

Extracts from the article...

CONCORD — A former Keene man convicted in the beating death of his then-girlfriend’s toddler lost his bid for a lesser prison sentence, according to a decision released by the N.H. Supreme Court today....
The case prompted Kassidy’s Law, which makes it a felony for a person who witnesses child abuse not to report it.

6 September 2006 "Court rejects Rochester man's bid to reduce sentence in toddler death" Foster's Daily Democrat (online) from the Associated Press  (Article also published in Portland Press Herald)

Extracts from the article...

CONCORD (AP) — A former Rochester man has lost his attempt for a shorter sentence after being convicted of repeatedly abusing and finally killing his girlfriend's young daughter.
   After Evans lost an appeal to have the convictions overturned, the state went to a new review board and asked to extend his original sentence.
   Last year, the board added 15 years to Evans' sentence, making it 43 years to life.
   Evans argued the tougher sentence violated his rights because the law allowing it was enacted after the crime.
   The court disagreed.

18 September 2005 "Toddler killing sentence to shorten" Lewiston Sun Journal from the Associated Press (See same AP article in 15 September 2005 Union Leader, "Evans looking to reduce sentence in toddler killing"   and same AP article in 18 September Boston Globe"Convicted murderer wants jail term cut - N.H. persuaded panel to add years")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H. (AP) - The former Rochester man convicted of repeatedly abusing and finally killing his girlfriend's young daughter is trying to get the courts to reduce his prison sentence.
  At the time, Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said the original sentence was too short.  "It just seemed way out of whack with the severity of the crime and the innocence of the victim," he said.
  Delker said Evans argues now that the sentence enhancement was inappropriate because the law allowing it was enacted after the crime. But, Delker said, the review procedure was enacted before Evans' initial sentence.
  On Nov. 9, 2000, Bortner drove a badly bruised and semiconscious Kassidy to her sister's apartment in Kittery, Maine, where the sister's boyfriend babysat her.
The boyfriend called 911 several hours later because Kassidy was struggling to breathe and her eyes had rolled back in her head. The girl died that afternoon at York Hospital.
 

17 September 2005 "Baby killer seeks lower sentence - Chad Evans says 15 years unfairly added in Bortner beating case"  in the Keene Sentinel, from the Portsmouth Herald, by Karen Dandurant  (see also 20 August 2005 Union Leader article "Convict fighting sentence-review law" by Nancy Meersman and Foster's Daily Democrat 18 September article from the Associated Press, "Evans looking to reduce sentence in toddler killing")

The article begins...

   PORTSMOUTH - A former Keene man convicted in the beating death of his then girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter is looking to reduce his prison sentence....)

20 August 2005.  "Convict fighting sentence-review law"  by Nancy Meersman in the Union Leader.

The article begins...

   While the Rockingham County Attorney considers asking for a sentence review to boost prison time for convicted child molester Joshua Grant, another defendant is challenging the state law permitting prosecutors to ask for changes in the sentences imposed by trial judges.

    Chad Evans' lawyers contend his right to due process was violated when an extra 15 years was added to his 28-years-to-life term for second-degree murder, for repeatedly injuring and eventually killing his girlfriend's baby.

    If the former Rochester resident loses the state Supreme Court appeal, he stays in prison for a minimum of 43 years. If Evans wins, he can request parole after 28 years.

5 May 2005 "Toddler killer's jail term extended"  Portsmouth Herald, from the Concord Monitor, by Allison Steele  (See similar 5 May article from the Associated Press in the Union Leader, "Child killer has sentence extended")

Excerpts from the article...

Chad Evans, the man convicted of beating 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner to death in 2000, got 15 years added to his prison sentence Monday.
  A state panel increased Evans’ sentence to 43 years to life, meaning he will remain in prison until he is at least 71.
  Prosecutors asked for the extension under a 2001 law allowing the state to appeal sentences. It is the first time the law has been used to extend a sentence in a murder case, said N. William Delker, a senior assistant attorney general and one of the two lawyers who prosecuted the case....
  Amanda and Kassidy Bortner moved into an apartment in Rochester with Evans in the fall of 2000, when Amanda Bortner was 18. Evans’ abuse of Kassidy began almost immediately, prosecutors said, and quickly escalated.
  Bortner knew Evans was beating her daughter, but she told people Kassidy fell down often and bruised easily. At times, she did not want to take her daughter to day care because she feared someone would report the injuries.
  On Nov. 9, Amanda Bortner drove a badly bruised and semi-conscious Kassidy to her sister’s apartment in Kittery, Maine, where her sister’s boyfriend baby-sat. The boyfriend called 911 several hours later when he saw that Kassidy was struggling to breathe, her eyes rolled back in her head. The girl died that afternoon at York Hospital....
  Monday, the panel added two more sentences, 10 to 30 years and 5 to 10 years, for assaults that happened before Kassidy’s death.
  Delker said yesterday that he never believed Evans’s initial sentence was appropriate, given the circumstances. "It just seemed way out of whack with the severity of the crime, and the innocence of the victim," Delker said.

4 May 2005 "EDITORIAL - Justice was delayed, but not completely denied" Foster's Daily Democrat

Excerpts from the editorial...

  ...Animal cubs in the forest get better protection than Amanda Bortner gave to her daughter. No matter the relationship between she and Chad Evans — no matter what she most feared from him — her first duty, even above herself, was to Kassidy.
    Amanda Bortner served two years in prison for failing to protect her child in an environment that led up to Kassidy’s death. No matter the grief she may feel in the wake of Kassidy’s murder, no matter the horrible memories she might have in the future, she deserves little or no pity.
    Amanda Bortner could have saved Kassidy’s life by taking her out of harm’s way. Even on the day Kassidy died, Amanda Bortner might have saved her daughter’s life. Why didn’t she take her the nearest hospital or doctor’s office or call 911 herself?
  Why did Amanda Bortner walk away and let her daughter die?
  Chad Evans has come close to getting what he deserves in the murder of Kassidy Bortner and we feel no pity for Amanda Bortner. Kassidy deserved a better mother, a real mother...

3 May 2005  "Kassidy's killer gets a longer sentence" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jason Howe  (See similar article in Concord Monitor, Rochester; Child's killer nets longer sentence; 2001 law allows for extended term by Alison Steele and Alison Steele's article in the Portsmouth Herald, "Toddler killer's jail term extended ") (See also "Chad Evans gets longer sentence" WCSH-TV, Channel 6)

Excerpts from the article....

   ROCHESTER - State prosecutors say they were stunned four years ago when Chad Evans, convicted in 2000 of murdering 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner, was sentenced to 28 years to life, instead of the requested 60 years to life.

   That changed Monday when Senior Assistant Attorney General William Delker received word from the state's Sentence Review Board that Evans' sentence had been extended by at least 15 years....

  Amanda Bortner, Kassidy’s mother, knew Evans was beating her daughter, but told people Kassidy fell down often and bruised easily, according to testimony.
  The beatings were bad enough to prevent Amanda from sending Kassidy to daycare for fear of someone noticing evidence of continued attacks. Nov. 9, 2000, was one such day.
  That morning, Amanda dropped off her half-conscious, badly bruised daughter at her sister’s apartment in Kittery, Maine.
  The baby-sitter contacted 911 within hours of Kassidy’s arrival because the child had passed out after a period of struggling for breath...

   ...Delker said this morning. "Given that the nature of the abuse was so egregious, the sentence the judge handed down seemed disproportionately low."

   Evans will now remain in prison until he is at least 73 after losing his 4-year fight against the state's appeal to the Sentence Review Division for more prison time....

   "In this case, the new sentences were entirely appropriate considering the extent of the abuse, but I'm sure we haven't seen the end of this case," Delker said.

21 November 2004 "Board denies sentence appeal "  [Delay for Evans' apeal] Portsmouth Herald by Chris Bernard

Excerpts from the article...

...The second appeal the board has reviewed, that of Chad Evans, convicted in a Strafford County court of murdering 20-month-old Kassidy Bortner, was delayed, said Holly Aquizap, clerk of the Superior Court’s Sentence Review Division.
  On Evans’ hearing day, the board found motions to dismiss the sentence review hearing were pending in Strafford County Court.

  "Rule- and procedure-wise, someone has to rule on those motions," Aquizap said.
But since the prosecutor appealed the sentence and not the defense, the defense doesn’t have the right to dismiss, rendering the motion academic, she said.

 "Still, we have to go through the motions at this point," Aquizap said.
  The Sentence Review Board ordered the Strafford County Court to rule on the dismissal.  Following that, the board will release its decision on the appeal....
  The Sentence Review Board is currently made up of Justice Harold Perkins of Belknap County, and justices Patricia Coffey of Rockingham County and Carol Ann Conboy of Hillsborough County, northern district.

 A majority vote is required for a decision. In this first ruling, the board’s decision was unanimous.


14 April 2004 "Father gets 30 years in death of his child"  by the Associated Press. Portsmouth Herald.

The article begins...

    NASHUA- Barry Linde pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in the shaking death of his 2-month-old boy and was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison....

5 March 2004. "Our governments can and must do better for our children"  by Ellen Shemitz in the Union Leader.

Excerpt from the article....

.....Looking again at New Hampshire, last year's Kassidy Bortner Child Protection Act was sponsored and shepherded through the New Hampshire Legislature by Republicans (Sen. Andre Martel and Rep. Marge Hallyburton), passed with huge bipartisan votes, and signed by Republican Gov. Craig Benson. This year, the school funding constitutional amendment was defeated by the work of a bipartisan coalition....

3 February 2004 "State Supreme Court rejects Bortner's appeal" Union Leader, from the Associated Press article by Katharine Webster

CONCORD -- The state Supreme Court yesterday rejected Amanda Bortner's appeal of two child endangerment convictions for failing to prevent the beating death of her daughter, 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.
  Bortner, 21, is serving two years in prison after being convicted of failing to protect her daughter from her boyfriend, Chad Evans. She has served more than one year of her sentence....
  But the court said yesterday prosecutors had the right to revoke the immunity offer because Bortner's statements to police and prosecutors were inconsistent.
"Under the terms of the agreement, (Bortner) was obligated to provide information that was 'truthful, candid and complete,'" but she did not, the court said.
  In interviews with police shortly after Kassidy's death on Nov. 9, 2000, Bortner described incidents when Evans held the toddler's head under a faucet, grabbed her by the back of the neck and banged her head on a closet, and repeatedly grabbed her face hard enough to leave serious bruises, the court said.
  A year later, when speaking with prosecutors, Bortner "minimized Evans' roughness," saying he "simply splashed water on Kassidy's face" and rarely grabbed her face hard enough to leave bruises, the court said.
  The court noted this was the first time it had been asked to rule on the enforceability of an immunity agreement. 

3 February 2004 "Bortner to remain behind bars"  Portsmouth Herald by Karen Dandurant

Excerpts from the article...

PORTSMOUTH - The N.H. Supreme Court on Monday upheld Amanda Bortner’s conviction on two counts of endangering the welfare of a child....
  Her former boyfriend, Chad Evans, recently lost his appeal on a second-degree murder conviction. He was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison, but prosecutors are trying to increase that sentence to 60 years to life....
  In Bortner’s appeal, defense attorneys argued that the state had violated an immunity agreement offered to Bortner in exchange for her testimony against Evans. The agreement would have protected Bortner from prosecution.
  Terms of the agreement, according to the court documents, said that Bortner "was obligated to provide information that was truthful, candid and complete." The agreement further stated that the defendant would be in breach of the agreement if she made a material false statement or omission. The next sentence of the agreement stated that, in the event of "such a breach, or any other breach of (the) agreement," the state would be released from its agreement."
  Prosecutors revoked the agreement because of discrepancies in Bortner’s testimony during Evans’ trial. In several instances, she minimized brutality she had described to police in earlier interviews.
  During initial interviews, Bortner told police that she saw Evans bang Kassidy’s head into a closet door three times a week, grab her face hard enough to leave bruises and hold her head under running water to stop her from crying. She told police Evans picked   Kassidy up by her face or arm and threw her into a corner hard enough so that she hit her head and used his fingers to push down on her trachea until she gagged.
  When she was interviewed by prosecutors in November 2001, Bortner altered her description of the time she said Evans held Kassidy under a water faucet, instead describing the incident as one in which Evans simply "splashed water on Kassidy’s face."
    When Bortner was interviewed by police, she said Kassidy had bruises on her face from  Evans grabbing her face and pinching it when he disciplined her. When she was interviewed in 2001, she acknowledged that Evans grabbed Kassidy’s face approximately two times a week, but said that only on one occasion did this conduct cause bruising to Kassidy’s face....

6 January 2004 "Bortner appeal to be heard tomorrow" Union Leader from the Associated Press

The article begins...

CONCORD (AP) -- The state Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow on the appeal of Amanda Bortner, convicted of failing to protect her daughter from the abuse that killed her....

31 December 2003 "Conviction upheld in baby death" Portsmouth Herald by Karen Dandurant (See related article in Portsmouth Herald from Associated Press by Stephen Frothingham, "Supreme Court upholds conviction in Kassidy Bortner death"

and same article in Lewiston Sun Journal, "Court upholds guilty verdict in baby death" and same article in 31 December Union Leader, as "Court upholds conviction in baby's death")

The article begins...

CONCORD - A former Rochester man convicted in the beating death of his then-girlfriend’s 21-month-old daughter lost a chance for a new trial Tuesday when the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld his conviction.
  The setback may mean more jail time for Chad Evans. Prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office said on Tuesday they plan to ask that his sentence be increased from 28 years to life to 60 years to life.
  Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown said an opinion issued by the Supreme Court earlier in December cleared the way for prosecutors to seek an increased sentence....

30 December 2003 "Former Keene man loses appeal"  by Benjamin Yelle, Keene Sentinel

Excerpts from the article...

   The N.H. Supreme Court has ruled against a former Keene man convicted in December 2001 of killing his girlfriend's daughter....

   "Viewing all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, we hold it was sufficient for the jury to exclude all rational conclusions except that the defendant was guilty," Chief Justice David A. Brock wrote in the decision....

   Earlier this month, the Court ruled in favor of the State's appeal of a Sentence Review Road decision that had prohibited the State from seeking longer sentences in Evans's case and two others.  A law passed in 2001 allows the state to appeal sentences. Senior Assistant N.H. Attorney General N. William Delker told The Associated Press he will seek to lengthen Evans's sentence to 60 years to life.

28 December 2003.  "A look back at 2003"   in the Union Leader

Excerpts from the article...

JANUARY   Mother sentenced:Sobbing, Amanda Bortner, 20, said, "I should have taken steps to save her," as the judge imposed a two-year jail sentence last January on two counts of child endangerment in the beating death of her 21-month-old daughter, Kassidy.The girl died Nov. 9, 2000, after having been beaten by Bortner's boyfriend, Chad Evans of Rochester, who was convicted of murder and is serving 28 years to life. In July, a law named after Kassidy Bortner took effect that requires child protection workers to share with authorities what is reported to them in child abuse cases.

6 December 2003 "Toddler killerís jail time may increase" Portsmouth Herald from the Associated Press (See same AP article in Union Leader, "Child killer may get more time")

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD - Chad Evans, a Rochester man convicted in the beating death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner, could have his sentence lengthened as a result of a state Supreme Court ruling issued Friday....
    The court ruled Friday in favor of the state’s appeal of a Sentence Review Board decision that had prohibited the state from seeking longer sentences in Evans case and two others. A law passed in 2001 allows the state to appeal sentences....
    Meanwhile, the attorney general’s office is waiting for Supreme Court decision on Chad Evans’ appeal of his conviction. If the conviction is upheld, the state will proceed to seek a longer sentence. Delker said the state is seeking 60-years-to-life....
    Appellate defender David Rothstein, who was appointed to represent Evans, told the Supreme Court during oral arguments on Nov. 6 that the conviction should be overturned because the jury was instructed to consider false statements made by Evans to police. He said the jury was not directed to consider similar statements made by Jefferey Marshall, who was caring for Kassidy at the time of her death....

9 November 2003 "Evans appeals guilty verdict in beating death of Kassidy Bortner" Union Leader from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article..

CONCORD (AP) -- The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week in the appeal of Chad Evans, a Rochester man convicted in the beating death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.
  Evans is serving a sentence of 28 years to life after he was convicted in 2001 of second-degree murder and multiple counts of assault in connection with Kassidy's death in 2000.
  Evans' lawyer, David Rothstein, said the conviction should be overturned because the jury was instructed to consider false statements Evans made to police. Rothstein said the jury should have considered similar statements made by Jefferey Marshall, who was caring for Kassidy at the time of her death.
  Prosecutor William Delker said there was never any evidence Marshall lied in any of his statements.

19 August 2003 "Aunt's boyfriend, of Kittery, files suit against Kassidy's killer" 

Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A former Rochester man convicted of beating 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner to death is once again facing litigation - this time in the form of a civil lawsuit filed in Strafford County Superir Court....

  ... F. Jeffery Marshall of Kittery, Maine, filed a civil suit accusing Evans of slander, libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

   During Evans's trial, the defense attempted to cast the blame for Kassidy's death on Marshall....

   "I don't think there is anything worse in life than being accused of things we don't do," Marshall's attorney, Stephen Brown, said during a telephone interview Monday....

  "Alleging a person actually murdered someone and then publicizing that throughout the country, I don't know how you fix that... We'll see what we can do to clear his name." Brown said.

23 July 2003 "Benson signs 'Bortner bill' "  by Norma Love in the Union Leader.

Excerpt from the article...

    Gov. Craig Benson said yesterday that a new law will help prevent tragedies like the death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner in 1999.
    Benson signed a bill three weeks ago that requires the state to disclose what it knew of fatal or near-fatal child abuse cases. Supporters call the law the "Bortner bill" after Kassidy Bortner, who died of child abuse.
    Benson told supporters at a ceremonial bill signing that the new law will promote better communication.
   "Nothing can change what happened to Kassidy Bortner, but we must make every effort to strengthen our laws for the protection of children so that future tragedies can be avoided," Benson said.
    Her mother's boyfriend, Chad Evans, was convicted of second-degree murder and is serving 28 years to life in prison. Her mother, Amanda Bortner, is serving a two-year sentence for child endangerment.
    At Evan's trial, his ex-wife testified she anonymously told state officials she thought Evans was abusing Kassidy 10 days before the toddler's death. The toddler died on Nov. 9, 2000, at York Hospital in Maine.
    The law takes effect Aug. 29.

6 June 2003 "House passes Kassidy Bortner bill to bolster child protection" by Tom Fahey, in the Union Leader.

Excerpt from the article...

CONCORD -- A bill aimed at improving child protection services, and named for child abuse victim Kassidy Bortner, passed the New Hampshire House yesterday.
Senate Bill 86 has been referred to as the Kassidy Bortner Act, named for a 21-month old Rochester child who died at the hands of her mother's live-in boyfriend, Chad Evans. State child protection workers had a report of abuse in the home for more than a week without checking on the case.
The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to make public details surrounding fatal and near fatal cases of child abuse. It also requires the state to develop a plan by February for bringing the state's Division of Children, Youth and Families into accreditation by July 2007.

15 May 2003 "Punishment must be judge's call - Prosecution shouldn't get to appeal sentence - You and I may agree Chad Evans deserved a longer term in prison. But there's a reason it's not our call." The Concord Monitor

Excerpts from the column by Charles Huckelbury...

   Baby killers deserve no sympathy. That's why it's difficult for Chad Evans to find a shoulder to cry on even though the Sentence Review Division recently added 15 years to his original sentence of 28 to life....

   Judge Tina Nadeau heard the evidence at trial and rendered what she thought was an appropriate sentence. That should have been the end of it in a system that grounds its operation in a philosophy of being free from emotional influence...

   If a convicted felon wants to roll the dice for a reduced sentence, that's another matter. But by allowing the state to appeal any criminal sentence that does not have the prosecution's blessing, the Legislature removes the necessary discretion trial judges must exercise to be effective and establishes the prosecutor as sentencing authority....

18 April 2003 Honored trooper [ Jill Rockey] takes one for her advocates team  Exeter News-Letter by Lara Bricker  (See same article in 22 April 2003 Hampton Union, "Taking one for the team")

Excerpts from the article....

EPPING - It was like winning an Oscar the same year as Meryl Streep. That’s how state police trooper Jill Rockey said she felt last week when she was recognized alongside Exeter’s Dr. Wendy Gladstone for their work advocating for crime victims. The two local women were among four people lauded by the Rockingham County attorney’s office for their work involving victims’ rights....
     But the nine-year veteran of the state police has seen her share of crime victims - both children and adults....   Some of the cases are more disturbing than others, like the case of Kassidy Bortner, the 21-month-old toddler who was repeatedly beaten by her mother Amanda’s live-in boyfriend Chad Evans. Kassidy died on Nov. 9, 2000, as a result of the repeated beatings. Evans was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison for causing the toddler’s death, while Bortner was sentenced to two years in jail for allowing the abuse to go on.

  "I’ll never forget that case," Rockey said.
  As one of a large team of police investigating the case, Rockey was able to cope with the horrific details uncovered in the investigation by talking with the other investigators.  

  The hardest part of the case was learning that people around Kassidy suspected she was being beaten and didn’t report anything to police.
  With Kassidy dead, the investigators saw their job as bringing what happened to the young girl to light.

  "When your victim doesn’t have a voice anymore ... your most important job is to give them a voice," Rockey said.

  Before her transfer to the detectives division of Troop A in Epping in 1999,....     While Rockey said it was gratifying to receive the award from the county attorney’s office, she pointed out that every case she works on is part of a team effort involving various agencies.

  "I think there are so many people that contributed," she said. "Every case had been a team effort."

16 April 2003  "Lawmakers mull informing public on child abuse cases"  Union Leader by Warren Hastings

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD - Senate Bill 86, designed to provided the public limited information on fatal or near fatal child abuse incidents and how they are being handled by the Department of Children Youth and Families, was heard yesterday by the House Children and Family Law Committee.

   The measure was dubbed the Kassidy Bortner bill after a toddler who died Nov. 9, 2000, following beatings by former Rochester man Chad Evans, then 30, a boyfriend of the child's mother, Amanda Bortner....

   Bortner's mother, Jacqueline Bortner of Bryant Pond, Maine, asked the committee to support the bill because it might save other mothers and grandmothers the heartbreak she experienced upon learning of the death of her grandchild."....

  

11 April 2003 "State Supreme Court to hear Bortner appeal" by the Associated Press in the Portsmouth Herald.

Excerpts from the article..

DOVER - The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Rochester mother convicted of failing to protect her little daughter from abuse that killed her....
  In the appeal, Bortner’s attorney, Patricia O. Wiberg, claimed the court was incorrect in its decision not to exclude autopsy photographs and graphic testimony regarding the physical cause of death.
  She also claimed that Judge Tina L. Nadeau gave erroneous jury instructions on Bortner’s failure to protect her daughter; that the state child endangerment statute is "unconstitutionally vague or overbroad" and that the state violated its immunity agreement with Bortner. The appeal also claims that witnesses for the prosecution violated a sequestration order.
  At her trial, prosecutors said Bortner knew her daughter was seriously injured but drove her past three hospitals on the way to a baby-sitter’s home the day Kassidy died. Bortner later blamed the babysitter for Kassidy’s death and testified on Evans’ behalf.

11 February 2003  "Bortner ponders having another child - Rochester woman is serving time in jail for child endangerment"  Union Leader, from the Associated Press.  (This article based largely on the 8 February 2003 article, "Slain tot's mom: 'Not my fault' ", below. Article was also carried in the Laconia Citizen as noted within.)

Excerpts from the article...

  DOVER - A Rochester woman who's serving time for the death of her daughter says she thinks about having another child someday....

   She told the Laconia Citizen in a story published yesterday that she'd be taking them to the hospital all the time.

   "I know I would be so paranoid all the time," she says.  "I'd be so scared my kids would get hurt or something."

   At her trial, prosecutors said Bortner knew her daughter was seriously injured but drove her past three hospitals on the way to a baby-sitter's home the day Kassidy died.

   "I'm not a victim," Bortner said. "Kassidy is the victim. But I do feel that the system has screwed me over big time. And Chad also. Because they did a horrible investigation... And I feel that Kassidy is a victim in that way as well."

   Bortner said Evans never misrepresented himself to authorities.

   "He's the one person in the whole case who's told the honest truth about everything," she says.  "They didn't catch him in anything."...

8 February 2003 "Bortner appeals child endangerment conviction"  by the Associated Press in the Portsmouth Herald.

Excerpts from the article..

DOVER - A woman convicted of failing to protect her daughter from fatal abuse says autopsy photos of the toddler prejudiced the jury against her....
Bortner was sentenced last month to two years in jail, but in an appeal filed Monday, argues that the conviction should be overturned because the trial judge allowed jurors to see the photos and hear testimony from the medical examiner who performed the autopsy. Those decisions may have prejudiced the jury against Bortner, who did not contest the toddler’s cause of death, wrote defense attorney Patricia Wiberg.
The photographs have no relevance to whether or not Bortner was guilty of child endangerment, her lawyer argues.
"There is no indication that Amanda Bortner ever saw (Kassidy) with the bruises that appear on the photographs," she wrote.
The appeal also raises six other questions, including whether Strafford County Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau gave contradictory instructions to the jury about Bortner’s state of mind when allegedly committing the crime. Wiberg argues that the child endangerment statute is vague and confusing because it requires a finding that a suspect have two states of mind at the same time: that they "knowingly" and "willingly" committed the crime.
The appeal also argues that Bortner’s prosecution violated an immunity agreement Bortner signed just before she was charged....

8 February 2003  "Slain tot's mom: 'Not my fault' " Foster's Daily Democrat by Ray Carbone.

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Amanda Bortner doesn't look the same. 

   The woman at the center of one of New Hampshire's most infamous child abuse cases is no longer perfectly made up....

   There's a slight mark on Bortner's cheek which she says is the result of a scuffle with another woman at the jail Tuesday - the day that would have been Kassidy's fourth birthday....

   After weeks in jail, she maintains that she and Evans have been unfairly treated by the New Hampshire justice system...

   ...Bortner said "Kassidy is the victim. But I do feel that the system has screwed me over big time. And Chad also. Because they did a horrible investigation... And I feel that Kassidy is a victim in that way as well."...

    On Friday, New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Will Delker disagreed with Bortner's assessment of the police work concerning the baby's death.

   "This was one of the most professional investigations I've ever seen," Delker said. "All the points of this case were played out in two separate trials and the juries unaminously agreed twice that (the baby-sitter) wasn't responsible for Kassidy's death."...

   Bortner says she fills her time now by attending three Bible studies every week, and by studying law books. The law books, she says, will come in handy when's she's released in 16 months on condition of good behavior, and seeks to clear her name, as well as Evans'.  

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A 34 year-old Somersworth woman has been charged with assaulting Amanda Bortner in jail....

    Dover Police Chief William Fenniman said that the assault caused severe bruises to Bortner's face and legs. Fenniman said that he did not believe that Bortner had to be treated by a physician...

   The date of Bortner's alleged assault - February 4 - would have been Kassidy's fourth birthday.

7 February 2003 "Bortner appeals child endangerment conviction" Portsmouth Herald from the Associated Press

The article begins...

DOVER, N.H. - A woman convicted of failing to protect her daughter from fatal abuse says autopsy photos of the toddler prejudiced the jury against her.
     Amanda Bortner, 21, was convicted of two counts of child endangerment in November, two years after her 21-month-old daughter, Kassidy, was beaten to death.
    Bortner was sentenced last month to two years in jail, but in an appeal filed Monday, argues that the conviction should be overturned because the trial judge allowed jurors to see the photos and hear testimony from the medical examiner who performed the autopsy.

30 January 2003 "Bortner jurors urge stiffer penalties" Union Leader, from the Associated Press by Stephen Frothingham (See same article in 30 January Portsmouth Herald, "Images of toddler haunt two jurors")

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD -- The night after a medical examiner showed jurors how 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner died at the hands of her mother's boyfriend, juror Rosemary McDonald broke out in hives and couldn't fall asleep.
  A week later, after what she described as "about five minutes" of deliberations, the jury found Kassidy's mother, Amanda, guilty of two counts of child endangerment, for which Bortner was given the maximum sentence: two years in county jail. With good behavior she could serve as little as 16 months.
  Yesterday, McDonald and another juror urged lawmakers to stiffen the penalty for child endangerment.
"The vivid pictures of Kassidy, who was used as a human football, flash before me in a never-ending nightmare," McDonald, a former teacher, told the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
   "How could this crime possibly be a misdemeanor?"
  McDonald read testimony from another juror, Leo Callahan of Dover, who wrote that Kassidy's death still makes him weep.

  "This woman stood by and allowed her daughter to be murdered," Callahan wrote. "This woman who calls herself a mother deserves to remain behind bars for far more than two years."
    A bill sponsored by Rep. Robert Ouellette, R-Franklin, would make it a class A felony to endanger a child or incompetent person when death or serious injury results. A class A felony is punishable by 7½ to 15 years in state prison.
  Ouellette gave the committee a petition he said was signed by more than 800 state residents calling for stiffer penalties for those who don't report suspected abuse.
  A subcommittee will consider combining Ouellette's bill with one being drafted by Rep. William Knowles, D-Dover. Knowles' bill would be similar to Ouellette's but also make child endangerment a felony if it results in sexual abuse.
  The state Attorney General's Office supports both bills, Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said....

24 January 2003 "EDITORIAL - Amanda Bortner is still guilty of not caring enough - Walsh show was cheap exploitation of Kassidy's death" Foster's Daily Democrat

Excerpts from the editorial...

  Amanda Bortner still doesn't get it.  A jury of 12 men and women found her guilty of endangering the welfare of her defenseles 21-month-old child....

   Daytime television is designed to sell soap. If they have any social value, it is allowing some of us a better look at the intellectual poverty of some of the participants and producers of the shows....

    As for Amanda Bortner and Chad Evans - they received a small measure of what they deserved.

23 January 2003 "Bortner still blames baby sitter - AG calls inteview 'totally untrue' " Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Amanda Bortner took her version of her daughter's murder to a TV talk show, asserting she should not be blamed for failing to protect 21-month-old Kassidy from the abuse that claimed her life....

   Bortner told Walsh she was wrongfully convicted on two counts of endangering the welfare of a chile and her boyfriend, Chad E. Evans, was wrongfully convicted of beating the toddler to death....

   When Walsh asked why Evans was convicted, Bortner replied, "I was coerced into making a false confession." She told him the prosecution had no physical evidence linking Evans to Kassidy's murder....

  ... Assistant Attorney General David Ruoff said Bortner's claims are totally untrue -- and chided the John Walsh Show for not taking the time to research the case....

   He said it was unfortunate the show did not focus on the details of the investigation... including the medical evidence that at the time of her death, the toddler had five fractures of varied ages, one in each arm, two in one leg and one in her hand....

   She had bruises over bruises at the time of death. That's all physical evidence of abuse," Ruoff said.

  Bortner told Walsh she had "no knowledge whatsoever" of the abuse Kassidy suffered. She also said she often saw a bruise "here and there" on her daughter when she came home from the babysitter's house. She cast the blame for Kassidy's death on the babysitter - the unsuccessful defense used in both Evans' and her own.

   Walsh then asked why Bortner continued to bring Kassidy to the baby-sitter's house if she saw bruises.  Bortner replied she was "young and naive" and the baby-sitter always had excuses for the injuries.

  [Responded Assistant Attorney General David Ruoff] "There is absolutely no evidence to substantiate any claim against the baby-sitter," Ruoff said in reaction to Bortner's claims.

23 January 2003 "Bortner guest on national TV show" Union Leader from the Associated Press

  A New Hampshire woman sentenced to two years in jail for failing to protect her toddler from the abuse that killed her used an appearance on a nationally televised talk show to once again claim a baby sitter caused the death.
  Amanda Bortner, 20, of Rochester, was a guest on "The John Walsh Show," which aired yesterday. The segment was taped before Bortner was sentenced on Jan. 3 on two counts of child endangerment. Her daughter, 21-month-old Kassidy, died in 2000. 

  Bortner's boyfriend, Chad Evans, was convicted of second-degree murder and is serving 28 years to life in prison. Bortner claimed on the show that incriminating statements she made about herself and Evans on the day her daughter died were untrue and coerced.
"I was interrogated for a really long time and just started agreeing with the investigators," Bortner said. "I just wanted to get out of there."
    Bortner, who testified on Evans' behalf at the trial, told Walsh police had "no physical evidence" that Evans committed the murder. Bortner instead claimed her sister's boyfriend, F. Jefferey Marshall, who babysat the child, was the true culprit. Evans' mother also appeared on the show, in support of Bortner. "She's young and naive, but she's telling the truth now," she said.
  Of her inability to prevent her daughter's death Bortner said, "I have to live with that for the rest of my life."

22 January 2003 "Bortner to tell her story on national TV" Portsmouth Herald by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

Amanda Bortner, who was held accountable for the fatal abuse of her 21-month-old daughter, will tell her story today on "The John Walsh Show."
  John Walsh, who is well-known for his work as the host of "America’s Most Wanted," will explore whether Bortner should be blamed for her daughter Kassidy’s death if someone else actually inflicted the abuse. The segment will air at 9 a.m. on WMUR-Channel 9 and WCVB-Channel 5....
  Bortner has said she had feelings of guilt, loss and failure, and said she should have taken steps to save her little girl from the ongoing abuse that ultimately caused her death.
  However, she later recanted statements she had made to police about Evans in the hours after Kassidy died. Instead, she and Evans accused the baby sitter of inflicting abuse on Kassidy.
  A producer from "The John Walsh Show" said the segment was taped in December before Bortner was sentenced.
  According to the show’s Web site, Walsh will also hear from Pam Evans, Chad Evans’ mother. She has been quiet about her son’s conviction and has stood by Bortner....

21 January 2003 "Bortner to appear on television talk show" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A Rochester woman convicted of failing to protect her young daughter from the abuse that claimed her life is taking her story to the jury of public opinion on a national daytime talk show this week.

   The John Walsh Show, which is broadcast in communities across the nation on network television, will present an episode entitled, "Limits of Responsibility" on Wednesday....

   Wednesday's show will feature an interview with 21-year old Amanda Bortner...

   His new talk show, which began airing Sept. 9, 2002, can be seen weekday mornings at 9 a.m. on ABC affiliates WMUR-Channel 9 and WCVB-Channel 5 in the Seacoast area....

17 January 2003  "Attorneys pushing N.H. to live up to agreement on child protection" Fosters Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article....

   CONCORD - Attorneys representing the most vulnerable children in New Hampshire have asked a federal court to order the state to live up to its five-year-old promise to protect child victims of abuse and neglect....

   It asks DCYF (the Division for Children, Youth and Families) to do its job in protecting these children," said Kenneth J. Barnes, litigation director at New Hampshire Legal Assistance and one of the plaintiff attorneys in the Eric L. Lawsuit....

  Perhaps the most graphic example of the need for more timely response to such allegations is the beating death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner, Barnes noted....

   "The call to DCYF came in on one day, and she was dead nine days later. Nine days is not one day... Clearly a lot can happen to a child in nine days...." Barnes said....

15 January 2003 "Bortner bill no substitute for personal involvement" Portsmouth Herald editorial

Excerpts from the editorial....

The death of Rochester's Kassidy Bortner in 2000, just a few months short of her second birthday, at the hands of Chad Evans, her mother's boyfriend, was a tragedy that should never have happened....   In an attempt to address this situation in New Hampshire, child advocacy groups have come up with legislation named in honor of this little girl - 

  The Kassidy Bortner Child Protection Accountability Act....          Kassidy Bortner’s maternal grandmother, Jacqueline Conley, said it was only during the second-degree murder trial of Kassidy’s killer that she learned at least a dozen people suspected that her granddaughter was being repeatedly beaten by Evans.
"It breaks my heart that none of them called me," Conley said. "We would have saved Kassidy."... It is incumbent on all of us to get involved and report child neglect and abuse when we believe it is occurring.
  Then, and only then, will the death of this beautiful child have any real meaning.

14 January 2003 "Protecting children Bortner billís goal" Portsmouth Herald by Shir Haberman

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD - Information obtained during the investigation of the beating death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner of Rochester at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend prompted the development of the Kassidy Bortner Child Protection Accountability Act, said Steve Varnum of the Children’s Alliance of New Hampshire. ...
  The proposed legislation would require:
* DCYF to develop an annual plan directly to the Legislature and governor that, if implemented, would move the agency toward national accreditation by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services by June 2007. Currently, only Illinois and Kentucky have received accreditation by that agency. The required DCYF plan would include staffing requirements, a timetable for achieving them and the costs involved ...
* DCYF to release to the public specific non-identifying information related to its response and preventative actions in every case of fatal and near-fatal child abuse or neglect. The draft of the proposed legislation is critical of the job DCYF is currently doing to ensure the safety of the state’s children.
"Although the ultimate responsibility for Kassidy’s death lies with her convicted murderer, the General Court finds that her death also reveals the inability of the Division for Children, Youth and Families to meet its General Court-mandated responsibility to protect some vulnerable children at critical times," the draft legislation reads.
  Nancy Rollins, DCYF director, took issue with the language in the proposed legislation....
"It should be remembered that child protection is a community responsibility, and that Chad Evans was convicted and is solely responsible for the death of Kassidy Bortner," she said.
Rollins’ statement was bolstered by remarks made by Jacqueline Conley of Buckfield, Maine, Kassidy’s grandmother and the mother of Amanda Bortner, who was recently sentenced to two years in prison on a child endangerment charge stemming from her failure to protect her child from Evans’ attacks.
  Conley spoke in favor of the legislation at Monday’s press conference.
"I found out during Chad Evans’ murder trial that at least a dozen people thought Kassidy was being abused," she said tearfully. "People need to get involved, but they also need to know someone will respond and protect the child if they do."...


14 January 2003 "Kassidy's death spurs reforms - N.H. bill would hold child agency accountable" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD - The beating death of a Rochester toddler has led to the Kassidy Bortner Child Protection Accountability Act, a call for improvement to the Division of Children, Youth and Families in her name...

   The proposed legislation has the full support of Kassidy's grandmother, aunt and many other relatives.

   [Quoting the Act] "The 21-month-old child died on Nov. 9, 2000, after being struck in her head eight to ten times and punched or kicked in her abdomen at least twice...," the act states....

   [Said Jacqueline Conley] "As you know, Chad Evans killed Kassidy and was convicted of second degree murder.  Eight days before she died from her injuries, New Hampshire's Division for Children, Youth and Families was told that Kassidy was being abused.  No case worker ever came to see her swollen face, her broken bones or the bruises that covered her body," Conley said, weeping as she spoke."...

14 January 2003 "Kassidy Bortner Act would reform state agency" Foster's Daily Democrat by Stephen Frothingham, Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The death of Kassidy Bortner, a toddler murdered by her mother's boyfriend two years ago, has prodded lawmakers to try to reform the state division that investigates child abuse....

   Martel's bill is the second to be inspired by Kassidy's death. Rep. Robert Ouellette, R-Franklin, sponsored a bill to make child endangerment a felony instead of a misdemeanor when serious injuries or death result...

8 January 2003 "N.H. eyes Kassidy Law" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The murder of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner became the catalyst for Maine's new chid protection laws two years ago, and now New Hampshire's legislators will review their own version of Kassidy's law....

   The Kassidy Bortner Child Protection Accountability Act will be formally presented to the public at a press conference at 10:30 a.m. on Monday at the Legislative Office Building in Concord. 

   The bill's primary sponsor, Sen. Andre Martel of Manchester, will be on hand along with Kassidy's grandmother, Jacqueline Conley, and Jack Lightfoot of Child and Family Services....

6 January 2003 "Amanda Bortner's family reacts to ordeal" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - In the days following Amanda Bortner's sentencing for her part in the death of her 21-month-old daughter, members of her family have spoken about the ordeal and its outcome.

   "She's my sister and I love her, but obviously she got what she deserved," said Jennifer Bortner Conley, Bortner's older sister....

   Describing Bortner's responsibility to protect Kassidy from harm and to seek medical treatment for her injuries, Nadeau told her, "The legal duty is nothing compared to the moral duty... Kassidy deserved the complete, unconditional love and protection of her mother."

   "You don't put up with a man who kills your baby," Conley said in an interview Sunday....

   "She turned her back on her family, we did not turn our backs on her. She turned her back on Kassidy... I think maybe Chad's holding something over her," Conley said....

  Conley's boyfriend, F. Jefferey Marshall, agreed that Bortner deserved the maximum sentence....

   Conley and Marshall have both expressed sorrow for believing Bortner's excuses for Kassidy's bruises and failing to report what they saw after Bortner brought her daughter to live with Evans.

   "I can't really find sorrow for Mandy under the circumstances," Marshall said of Bortner's sentence, "considering her behavior and everything. I mean, our not saying or seeing certain things, that was bad enough - but she was there. I think it (her sentence) should be longer because I truly believe she knows what happened," he said.

   [About proposed legislation] Sgt. Stephen Burke of the Rochester Police Dept, who began seeking legislators to support such a change after he learned the facts of Kassidy's case, explained the draft legislation....

4 January 2003  "Mother of slain girl sentenced for failing to protect her - N.H. Judge orders maximum, 2 years"  Boston Globe, Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H.  - A young mother was sentenced yesterday to the maximum two-year jail term for failing to protect her toddler from the abuse that killed the child. ...

  "Why couldn't I see it? Bortner sobbed as she addressed Judge Tina Nadeau in Strafford County Superior Court.  "It kills me to know I could have stepped back from the situation and put all the pieces together... I should have taken steps to save her."

   Nadeau said she didn't doubt Bortner's love for Kassidy, but said she is lucky she was not charged as an accomplice to the child's murder, which would have carried a much harsher sentence....

  But her own family asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.

   "You never loved Kassidy. What mother would turn her back on her own daughter? said Bortner's sister, Jennifer Conley. "I love you and I miss you," she said, sobbing, "But I feel you deserve the maximum sentence."

   Assistant Attorney General David Ruoff said... "We have the worst-case scenario, the most innocent victim and a defendant who hasn't really learned from her conduct."

3 January 2003 "Bortner gets maximum 2-year sentence in baby's death"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Holly Ramer, Associated Press  (See same story in Portsmouth Herald, "Bortner gets maximum 2-year sentence in babyís death" and in Union Leader, "Mother gets maximum sentence")

Excerpts from the article...  

... Amanda Bortner, 20, was convicted of two counts of child endangerment in November, two years after her 21-month-old daughter, Kassidy, was beaten to death.

   "Why couldn't I see it?" Bortner sobbed as she addressed the judge in Strafford County Superior Court. "It kills me to know I could have stepped back from the situation and put all the pieces together... I should have taken steps to save her."...

   Her lawyers had recommended a sentence of three months.

3 January 2003 "Bortner to receive sentence today"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a murdered 21-month-old girl is scheduled to be sentenced today for failing to protect the toddler from the abuse that claimed her life.

26 December 2002 "EDITORIAL - We still weep for Kassidy: There is nothing so brutal as the murder of a child"  Foster's Daily Democrat

Excerpts from the editorial...

Amanda Bortner spent Christmas in jail. It is only the beginning of what she deserves....

   A man who so abuses a 21-month-old child as to cause her death is little more than a monster.  A woman who does not do all she can to protect her child from such abuse is something less than a mother....

   What form of people are these two? Is it possible justice has gone so awry as to give them any visage of credibility?  Juries have said no. What reason is there for anyone to believe otherwise.?

26 December 2002 "Bortnerís calls land her in jail " Portsmouth Herald story from Associated Press (See same article in Union Leader, "Bortner gets jail for talks with killer Evans")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Amanda Bortner told a judge she still talks to her daughter’s killer because he helps her focus on being a good Christian....
Members of Evans’ family and a family friend expressed their support for Bortner as she was led from the courtroom in handcuffs. The friend accused authorities of spending more time trying to catch the couple communicating than investigating Kassidy’s death.

25 December 2002  "MOTHER OF SLAIN GIRL HAS BAIL REVOKED PROSECUTORS CITE PHONE TALKS WITH TODDLER'S KILLER"  Boston Globe from the Associated Press

   DOVER, N.H. - Amanda Bortner told a judge she still talks to her daughter's killer because he helps her focus on being a good Christian.
    Bortner, 20, was convicted last month of failing to protect her 21- month-old daughter, Kassidy, from the abuse that eventually killed the toddler.
    One condition of her bail was that she have no contact with her boyfriend, Chad Evans, who is serving 28 years to life in prison for killing Kassidy in November 2000.
But prosecutors said the couple has spent more than 26 hours on the phone since August, including an hourlong call just before Monday's hearing.

  

24 December 2002  "Bortner gets jail time: Slain tot's mom behind bars after bail violations" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A local mother convicted of failing to prevent the abuse that led to her daughter's death is in jail after violating her bail conditions....

   "It's a violation of his sentence, your honor, and a violation of her bail conditions," [Assistant Attorney General David] Ruoff said at the start of the hearing....

   Ruoff noted that in the three days since he filed the fail revocation motion at Strafford County Superior Court, Bortner and Evans continued to have phone contact -- speaking for 59 minutes on Saturday, 59 minutes on Sunday and 59 minutes Monday morning, a few hours before the hearing.

   "There is no doubt that any future contact should be precluded," Ruoff said. "I would characterize this relationship as dangerous."

     In addition to seeking revocation of Bortner's bail, Ruoff had asked Nadeau to preclude further contact between Bortner and members of the Evans family.

    Wiberg asked for that portion of the bail revocation motion not to be granted, describing the Evans family as Bortner's only support. Nadeau agreed to allow visits from the Evans family while Bortner is incarcerated, but said she would revisit the state's motion if she learns that Bortner is using the family to contact Evans himself.

21 December 2002 "Bortner in Bail Dispute"  WCSH6-TV, Portland.

Beginning of TV segment...

A condition of Bortner's bail was that she have no contact with her daughter's killer, Chad Evans. But the state reports that with help from Evans' family, Bortner has had nearly 26 hours of phone ...

21 December 2002 "Phone trail may lead to jail for Bortner" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Amanda Bortner may be home for Christmas, if the state is successful in its motion to revoke her bail based on more than 26 hours of phone conversations with her daughter's convicted killer.

20 December 2002 "State to revoke Bortner bail"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The state filed a motion this morning to revoke Amanda Bortner's bail after learning she has had at least 1,587 minutes of phone conversations with her daughter's convicted killer since Aug. 6.

18 December 2002 "AG McLaughlin looks back on high, low points of term"  Union Leader, by Tom Fahey (For a more readable version see READABLE COPY

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD -- He's investigated leaders of the Catholic church, the alleged misdeeds of the Supreme Court and put cold-blooded killers away for life.
  But outgoing Attorney General Philip McLaughlin said yesterday he believes his best achievements had nothing to do with crime....
  Gov. Jeanne Shaheen appointed McLaughlin, a former Belknap County prosecutor whose father was a Nashua police officer and an investigator with the Attorney General's Office. His term expired in 2001, but he continued in office in holdover status after Shaheen saw the Executive Council was not going to approve his renomination.
  Gov.-elect Craig Benson will nominate his successor. In the interim, Deputy Attorney General Stephen Judge will be acting attorney general....
  He said he did the most prudent thing, ensuring justice was done in light of a very high bar any death penalty case must clear. Death sentences need a unanimous jury, he said. The "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard essentially becomes "beyond a moral doubt," McLaughlin said....
"I think it has," he said. "What goes unreported in these cases is the incredible visceral anger you go through. Just anger. Anger . . . I've had to discipline myself to not let anger play a role in the decisions of this office, and that's particularly so in regard to the death penalty."
  He cited the deaths of children -- 5-year-old Elizabeth Knapp of Hopkinton, raped and murdered in her home; Robbie Mills, 14, of Laconia, killed for a bicycle, and Cassidy Bortner of Rochester, who died of child abuse -- as deaths that infuriated him and his associates.
"But fury is not a basis for a justice system. Evidence is. Proof is," McLaughlin said....
McLaughlin said he doesn't care what the bar leadership thinks.
"I don't anticipate having any difficulty in practicing law because of it," he said. "I just don't care about that."
  He said the public was entitled to an explanation after Thayer quit following a 60-day investigation of alleged improper influence....
  Conservative groups criticized him when he joined nine other state attorneys general in suing the Boy Scouts of America over their ban on homosexual scout leaders.

2 December 2002 "Is Mom Guilty of Abuse Boyfriend Committed"  ABC News.

See the Illinois Supreme Court case, Illinois v. Tabitha Pollock, also featured on this ABC News Program.

Excerpts from the TV program transcript....

                       Should a Mother Be Held Accountable for Fatal Abuse to her Child?

A Child Unprotected
    In a case that raises similar issues, a New Hampshire woman was convicted last week of failing to protect her 21-month-old daughter from a fatal beating administered by her live-in boyfriend. She is facing up to two years in jail on the misdemeanor charges.
Amanda Bortner, 20, did nothing for months while her boyfriend, Chad Evans, abused the little girl.
    Evans, 31, was sentenced to 28 years to life after he was convicted of second-degree murder in the case.
    The abuse was only discovered after Bortner took the little girl, Kassidy, to her sister's boyfriend in Maine and asked him to babysit her. That man, Jeffrey Marshall, called 911 after he noticed that the toddler was having trouble breathing. The girl died later that day at a hospital.
    Bortner said she would appeal the conviction, but the woman's sister said Bortner needed to accept responsibility for what happened.
   "I'm just glad Kassidy is finally going to have justice," said Bortner's sister, Jennifer Bortner-Conley.

27 November 2002 "Child advocacy group applauds Bortner conviction"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A child advocacy group has come out in support of Amanda Bortner's child endangement conviction, but is urging residents not to forget that everyone in New Hampshire has an obligation to report suspicions of child abuse.

   Ellen Shemitz, president of the Children's Alliance of New Hampshire, .....

26 November 2002 "Bortner family, prosecution say right decision made" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The jury made the right decision to convict Amanda Bortner, which has been described as one of the worst cases of child endangerment [in New Hampshire] according to Bortner's family and the prosecution....

    Bortner wept audibly as the jury foreman read the two guilty verdicts.

    Outside the courtroom, Chad Evans' brother, Jason Evans, held back tears and gave a statement on behalf of his family. He did not comment on Bortner's guilty conviction, but focused instead on her child.

   "We feel deeply for Kassidy... and our thoughts and hearts go out to her," he said....

   "The truth will come out," Bortner said when asked for her reaction to the verdict. She said she will appeal her conviction.

   Allison Vachon, a victim and witness advcocate with the attorney general's office, read a statement by members of the Bortner-Conley and Marshall families....

   "... We first lost Kassidy and then, later, Amanda as well. We really do care for Amanda, but we feel she needs to accept responsibility for her role in Kassidy's death," the statement read.

   Janis Marshall, who attended the Evans and Bortner trials in support of Kassidy and her son, Jeffe, said she could not endorse the prepared statement by the other family members.

   "She dragged my son through the mud on unfounded allegations for her own needs. But it's not about Amanda, Chad Evans or what anyone else went through -- including us. It's about Kassidy," she said.

26 November 2002 "Bortner found guilty" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Amanda Bortner wept in the courtroom Monday as the jury foreman delivered guilty verdicts on two counts of endangering the welfare of her 21-month-old child, who was beaten to death....
    Bortner, who unexpectedly did not testify in her own defense, said very little when she left the courthouse. But when asked if she would appeal the decision, she replied, "Of course."...
    Both the defense and prosecution used photographs of Kassidy during their closing remarks, but the pictures were very different.
    Defense attorney Patricia Wiberg showed a poster-sized picture of Kassidy as she stood next to a dog smiling. The little girl had no visual bruises or marks in that photo. ...
    After the trial, Ruoff said he would most likely ask the judge for the maximum sentence. "This is probably the worst case of child endangerment you can imagine," he said....

26 November 2002  "Bortner convicted of child endangerment - sentencing in January for misdemeanors"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The epilogue to the tragic live story of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner was written with a single word as a jury found her mother guilty Monday of failing to protect the child from the abuse that claimed her life.

   It took a jury of eight men and four women less than two hours to convict 20-year-old Amanda Bortner...

   Because the two convictions are for misdemeanor crimes, Bortner was released on the $5,000 cash bail that was posted shortly after her arrest last year. She is to be sentenced in January.

 [In her closing argument, Wiberg said] "no one knew - least of all Amanda - what was happening to Kassidy... She's been berating herself every single day... she has to live with the question, 'If you saw the bruises, why didn't you do anything?' " Wiberg told the jury.

25 November 2002 "Borter convicted of child endangerment"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Stephen Frothingham, Associated Press  (See same article in the 26 November Union Leader, as "NH mom convicted in child death case") and also in the 26 November Keene Sentinel, as "Bortner Convicted of Child Endangerment")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H. (AP) - A woman accused of failing to protect her 21-month-old daughter from a fatal beating was convicted on two counts of child endangerment Monday....

   But Bortner's lawyer said Bortner was unaware that Evans was abusing her daughter.  "Yes, she should have seen what was happening. Yes, she should have realized. But she didn't. She had no idea," argued Patricia Wiberg....

   Bortner did not testify in her own defense, and her lawyer called just one witness, Travis Hunt, who lived with Evans, Bortner and the toddler at the time of Kassidy's death....

25 November 2002 "Bortner defense rests: Mother won't testify"  Foster's Daily Democrat, online edition, by Jennifer L. Saunders (See same article in Portsmouth Herald, "Bortner silent as child endangerment trial ends" and AP version by Stephen Frothingham, Associated Press, "Bortner silent as child endangerment trial ends")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - After calling only one witness, the defense rested its case this morning without Amanda Bortner testifying in her own child endangerment trial....

   Closing arguments were to begin late this morning, and Strafford County Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau indicated that the jury deliberations are expected to begin later today....

  Hunt testified to seeing bruises on Kassidy's face, arm, leg and buttocks...

  He testified that Bortner told him the bruises were inflicted by F. Jefferey Marshall, her sister's boyfriend....

23 November 2002 "Jury to hear from slain toddlerís mother" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER - The prosecution rested its case Friday against Amanda Bortner, who is charged with not protecting her 21-month-old daughter from the beating that caused her death.
Bortner, 20, is expected to take the stand in her own defense Monday morning in Strafford County Superior Court. No other witnesses are expected to testify in her defense, the prosecution has said....
  And now, only days before Thanksgiving, his girlfriend awaits a verdict in her own case....
  Patricia Weiberg, Bortner’s attorney, declined to comment on the trial Friday afternoon. Bortner also told the Herald she did not want to comment about her case until it was over....
    David Ruoff, a lawyer prosecuting the case for the state attorney general’s office, told the jury Bortner watched Evans abuse the little girl over a period of several months.  Examples of the abuse she witnessed, he said, included "Evans throwing the toddler into walls and doors, holding Kassidy’s face under water to stop her from crying," and grabbing her in the face so hard that he left bruises on her cheeks revealing fingerprints.
    He also said Bortner failed to take Kassidy to a doctor or to the hospital for medical treatment for those injuries. And on the morning Kassidy died, Bortner drove near three area hospitals before dropping off Kassidy at the baby sitter’s home in Kittery, Maine, Ruoff told jurors....

23 November 2002 "Prosecution rests its case in Bortner child abuse trial"  Keene Sentinel from the Associated Press, by Stephen Frothingham  (See same article in Portsmouth Herald, "Prosecution rests in case against Amanda Bortner" and in the 23 November 2002 Union Leader, as "Defense up next in Bortner trial")

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER - Even a 4-year-old wondered what was going on in the apartment where 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner spent the last six months of her life.

   "What's Daddy doing to Kassidy," Kyle Evans would ask, according to testimony Friday by the final witness called by the prosecution in the trial of Amanda Bortner, Kassidy's mother...

   Prosecutor David Ruoff of the state attorney general's office rested his case Friday. His final witness was James White, a New Hampshire State Police detective who interviewed Bortner several times after Kassidy's death. He said Bortner told him about Kyles' question in an interview at the state attorney general's office in Concord.   

23 November 2002 "Prosecution rests in Bortner trial"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The state rested its case Friday afternoon....

   The proceedings on Friday began with defense counsel Patricia Wiberg cross-examination of Blodgett.

   In about 2 1/2 hours of questioning, Wiberg asked Blodgett to read quotes from those transcripts where Bortner described knowing of incidents in which Kassidy had been injured with either Evans or Marshall.

22 November 2002 "State rests its case in Amanda Bortner child endangerment trial" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - With its final witness a N.H. State Police detective, the state has rested its child endangerment case against Amanda Bortner, the mother of Kassidy Bortner.

   Det. Sgt. James White was the lead investigator of the New Hampshire portion of the investigation of Kassidy's death....

   Under cross-examination by Bortner's court-appointed attorney, Patricia Wiberg, White was asked why he didn't tape record the interview. White said that he had a good rapport with Bortner and that tape-recording was unnecessary....

22 November 2002 "Detective takes turn on stand in Bortner case" Keene Sentinel from the Associated Press. (See same article in Portsmouth Herald, "Bortner trial continues" and in 22 November Union Leader as, " Maine detective testifies against accused mother")

The article begins...

DOVER - A mother charged with not protecting her daughter from fatal abuse told police that her boyfriend was responsible for the toddler's death, a Maine State Police detective testified Thursday.

22 November 2002 "Mother blamed boyfriend in hours after Kassidy Bortner's death"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - If Kassidy Bortner died from a head injury, then her boyfriend, Chad Evans, was to blame, Amanda Bortner told police in the hours after her daughter's death....

   Cathy Nuernberg, who was close friends with Bortner prior to Kassidy's birth and remained close to her until about six months after the toddler's death...

   Bortner lived with Nuernberg in Sanford, Maine, when Kassidy was about 6 months old, Nuernberg testified, but left the baby at her mother's home.

21 November 2002 "Bortner pointed toward Evans as Kassidy's killer, tapes show"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Chad Evans was responsible for Kassidy Bortner's death, Amanda Bortner told a Maine State Police detective in taped interviews shortly after the child's death...

   In testimony this morning, Tristan Evans, Chad Evans' ex-wife, accused other unnamed witnesses of breaking a court order not to discuss the case with each other.

   Tristan Evans supported her ex-husband throughout his murder trial in December....

   Before court recessed for lunch today, defense counsel Patricia Wiberg was cross-examining Melissa Chick of Sanford, Maine. Ms. Chick had testified for the state that she saw bruises on Kassidy many times after Amanda started living with Evans.

   "She'd always had bruises on her face ... she seemed drawn back, very quiet... she seemed scared," Ms. Chick said.  She also said that before Bortner and Evans began living together, Kassidy had been a spunky and energetic toddler.

21 November 2002 "Aunt weeps during Bortner testimony"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - During almost 2 1/2 hours of testimony on Wednesday, Kassidy Bortner's aunt wept as she recalled the toddler and the final hours before she died of multiple blunt-force injuries....

  Throughout the morning, Conley wept as she described the morning of Kassidy's death. She broke down and sobbed when Wiberg showed her a photograph of Kassidy's bruise-covered face taken in the hours after she died....

   There was a marked difference between Conley's demeanor and that of Bortner. While Conley struggled to keep hold of her emotions through most of Wednesday's proceedings, Bortner dabbed tears a few times.

    When the jury left the courtroom for its scheduled breaks, Bortner whispered and smiled at her attorney....

   On her way out of the courtroom, Bortner was asked by a reporter for her reaction to her sister's testimony.

   She paused at the door, smiled and then said, "I'm just hoping the truth will come out."...

    Bortner has said she will testify on her own behalf and is expected to take the stand next week....

20 November 2002 "Toddler's bruises evident - Little girl's injuries clearly visible as mother drove her to the baby sitters on day she died"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The injuries that ultimately killed Amanda Bortner's daughter were reflected in bruises on the child's face and body when she drove the toddler from Rochester to Kittery, Maine on the morning of her death....

    Kittery police Detective Steve Hamel testified to seeing Kassidy and "the extensive amount of bruising on the child's fact... under the chin .. on the left side of the stomach" when he responded to Marshall's 911 call....

   Conley, who wept throughout most of her testimony, said she was not completely honest with police in her first interview with them because she was trying to protect her sister...

   She testified that she and Bortner have not had a conversation since the days after Kassidy's death when she attempted to keep Bortner from calling Evans from their mother's home and Bortner then accused her of molesting Kassidy....

   Bortner left the courthouse with members of Evans' family She was laughing with them as they walked together in the parking lot when the proceedings ended for the day.

19 November 2002 "Different pictures painted of mother" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a murdered toddler was the one person who could have saved the girl from the abuse that claimed her life, the state contended as the Amanda Bortner child endangerment trial began Monday.

   [In her opening statement, defense attorney Patricia] Wiberg said Bortner did not believe Kassidy was dying on the morning of Nov. 9, 2000. She said Bortner did not see Evans abusing Kassidy, but instead "witnessed what she viewed as discipline."  Wiberg asked the jury to consider that what is perceived as "discipline" is different in every home....

19 November 2002 "Murdered toddler's mom on trial for not protecting her" Union Leader by Jody Record (See also PRINT COPY of same article.)

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- The trial of a woman accused of not protecting her murdered daughter from the abuse that killed her began in Strafford County Superior Court yesterday with her defense attorney hinting at the woman's own ill-treatment....
    Lawyer Patricia Wiberg, representing Bortner, then urged jurors to focus on what she termed "the whole picture" before reaching a decision regarding Bortner's guilt or innocence.

   "Amanda learned early in childhood not to cry out," Wiberg said. "Her stepfather was a predator and Amanda was his prey." Wiberg's comments, made during opening statements, were in contrast to the picture painted by state Assistant Attorney General David Ruoff during his address to the jury.

    "She failed to seek treatment for Kassidy's injuries," Ruoff said. "She failed to protect her from Evans' abuse."

    The state prosecutor described the two broken arms, broken leg and multiple bruises the toddler had suffered prior to sustaining the internal injuries he said killed her.

   "The defendant didn't take Kassidy to get treatment for those injuries," Ruoff said.
Kassidy died Nov. 9, 2000. Yesterday, Ruoff outlined the events of that day: Bortner left Evan's Rochester home that morning to go to work. On her way, she dropped Kassidy at the Kittery, Maine, apartment of her sister, Jennifer Bortner, and Jennifer's boyfriend, John Marshall....

    Ruoff told jurors that friends and family had questioned Bortner about the bruises that had begun appearing on Kassidy after the mother and daughter went to live with Evans.
   "Amanda Bortner said, 'She bruises easily; she falls down a lot,'" Ruoff said, adding friends had suggested to Bortner that she take the girl to the doctor to see why that would be the case.

18 November 2002 "Bortner goes on trial today - Charged with endangerment"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Jury selection began today in Strafford County Superior Court....

   The attorney general's office is prosecuting the case because of its connection to the murder investigation and trial, Ruoff said last week....

8 November 2002  "Bortner case set Nov. 18 in Strafford County Superior Court" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A 20-year-old Rochester woman charged with child endangerment in connection with her daughter's death will stand trial Nov. 18 in Strafford County Superior Court.

   Amanda Bortner appeared in court Thursday morning for a final pretrial hearing in preparation for her trial....

   The state's witness list includes 17 people who may be called to testify against Bortner, including [one] who is being flown in from Texas for the trial. The defense has not yet filed a witness list....

10 October 2002 "Evans appeal to be heard by state's highest court"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The state's highest court has agreed to review an appeal of a Rochester man's conviction for the beating death of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter....

   The Evans appeal is one of more than 30 on the Supreme Court's list of cases accepted in September for review.

4 October 2002 "Bortner pleads innocent to alcohol violation" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a 21-month-old girl beaten to death in 2000 pleaded innocent to an alcohol violation this morning in Exeter District Court....

   A trial will be scheduled at a later date and counsel will be appointed to represent Bortner, according to a court clerk.

1 October 2002 "Bortner faces arraignment on alcohol violation"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a murdered 21-month-old girl is to be in Exeter District Court on Friday for her arraingment on an alcohol violation....

   Bortner's bail conditions were recently reviewed and increased to include no contact with anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor because two men in her car at the time of the Epping traffic violation were known felons....

14 September 2002  "Mother of murdered girl remains free on bail"  Union Leader from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER (AP) -- The mother of a murdered toddler will remain free on bail while she awaits trial on child endangerment charges....
  But Strafford County Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau ruled there wasn't enough evidence to indicate Bortner is a danger to herself or others, or that she is a flight risk....     Several of his family members accompanied Bortner to Thursday's hearing, where the judge said she has "extreme concern" about Bortner's attitude.

    "You are not taking these cases seriously. These cases involve the death of your daughter. . . . You have refused to accept the culpability of your boyfriend," Nadeau said.
  Under state law, Bortner's recent arrest on a charge of illegally transporting alcohol does not constitute a bail violation. But prosecutors cited the incident in asking that she face additional restrictions if allowed to remain out on bail.
  Prosecutor David Ruoff said two of the three passengers in Bortner's car when she was arrested were felons.
  Bortner's court-appointed attorney, Patricia Wiberg, said her client did not know the men in her car had criminal records.... Nadeau agreed to the additional bail conditions, which include no contact with anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and no possession or consumption of alcohol. Bortner must also inform the Department of   

  Corrections of any changes in her address or employment information, abide
by a 10 p.m. curfew, and not violate any state law....

10 September 2002 "AG seeks to revoke bail for Amanda Bortner" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Based on her actions in recent weeks, the mother of a murdered 21-month-old girl may be headed back to jail pending her child endangerment trial in November.

    David Ruoff of the New Hampshire attorney general's office, who is prosecuting the case against Amanda Bortner, confirmed Monday afternoon that he will file a motion to have her bail revoked.  The motion is based in part on Bortner's arrest Aug. 29 in Epping on a charge of transporting alcohol by a minor. She is 20 years old.

   In addition, Ruoff noted, "two times in the past three weeks she has failed to report to the Department of Corrections as required."....

   Transporting alcohol by a minor is a violation punishable by a 60-day license suspension and/or fines.  Bortner is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 4 in District Court.

9 September 2002 "1. BORTNER BAIL MAY BE REVOKED" WCSH-TV, Portland

The segment begins...

   Amanda Bortner is out on bail, waiting for her child endangerment trial to start. Prosecutors say they will ask a judge to revoke her bail because of an alcohol charge. Bortner, who is 20, was char...

6 September 2002 "Bortner charged with alcohol violation - May affect her bail conditions" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A Rochester woman due to stand trial in November for failing to protect her daughter from the abuse that killed her has been arrested on an alcohol violation.

   Amanda Bortner, 20, was arrested in Epping on a charge of transporting alcohol by a minor on Aug. 29 at 1:55 a.m., according to Epping Chief Gregory Dodge. And according to Bortner's conditions of release on the chile endangerment charges, that arrest could mean the revocation of her bail....

25 June 2002  "Amanda Bortner moves into home of her child's killer"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders  (See similar article from Associated Press in 26 June Union Leader, " Woman back in home of daughter's killer"

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a 21-month-old girl beaten to death in 2000 has moved back into the home of her daughter's convicted murderer.

  A financial affidavit filed Friday at Strafford County Superior Court lists Amanda Bortner's current address as 191 Milton Road in Rochester, the home owned by Chad E. Evans....

 Bortner is paying $300 per month to live in the brown two-story house on Milton Road according to the affidavit. The affidavit also indicates that Bortner is working part-time at Yoken's restaurant in Portsmouth.

11 June 2002 "Amanda Bortner to stand trial on endangerment charges - Lawyer says she's grieving over slain child" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders  (See similar article from Associated Press in 11 June Union Leader, " Mother seeks trial on failure-to-protect charges")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Amanda Bortner was on the verge of pleading guilty Monday to charges she failed to protect her daughter from the abuse that caused her death, but her attorney maintains she is innocent.

   "She's innocent and the circumstances surrounding Kassidy's death are not related to Amanda... I think she feels a lot's been said and she feels a trial will be a chance to speak on Kassidy's behalf and also on her own," Patricia Wiberg, Bortner's court-appointed counsel, said Monday afternoon....

   Prior to the hearing, Bortner remained outside the courtroom with Evans' parents and other family members who attended the proceedings....

   Marshall's mother, Janice Marshall, who attended Evans' trial and was back in court Monday for Bortner's hearing, said she is deeply troubled by Bortner's apparent lack of concern for Kassidy.

   "I hope when it hits her and she has that big void in her life she'll realize it's because she failed as a mother by not seeking medical attention and protecting that child."

10 June 2002  "Bortner changes her mind - Decides against plea, will go to trial in Nov."  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders  (See similar story in the Portsmouth Herald from the Associated Press, "Mother changes mind, does not plead in baby death case")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a murdered 21-month-old girl, who was expected to plead guilty today to child endangerment, change her mind at the last minute and will go to trial in November....

30 May 2002 "Amanda Bortner eyeing plea bargain"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a 21-month-old girl beaten to death in November is exploring a plea agreement avoid her June child endangerment trial....

   Wiberg said that plea negotiation are ongoing.  If a plea is not entered on June 10, the trial will need to be postponed until fall because Wiberg needs additional time to prepare....

17 May 2002 "Evans appealing murder sentence" Keene Sentinel, from the Associated Press

The article begins....

DOVER (AP) - Convicted murderer Chad Evans, who grew up in Keene, has asked the N.H. Supreme Court to throw out his conviction....

16 May 2002 "Evans files appeal of murder trial"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders (See related Portsmouth Herald story from Associated Press "Chad Evans Appeals conviction,"

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Convicted murderer Chad E. Evans is appealing to the state Supreme Court to "evaluate and correct" rulings of the trial court that he alleges led to his conviction....

   Specifically, the appeal lists five instances the defense contends are grounds for an appeal....

    In addition to appealing the murder and assault convictions, Cronheim's ....for both he and Sisti to withdraw as counsel from Evans case so that an attorney with the Appellate Defender Program can represent Evans in the Supreme Court. A financial affidavit included with the request lists Evans as indigent.

   The motion also requests the state pay the estimated $10,400 in transcript costs associated with the appeal....

24 April 2002 "EDITORIAL - 60 years for Evans"  Foster's Daily Democrat,

Excerpts from the editorial...

   The state is moving forward with an attempt to get Chad Evans the kind of sentence he deserves...

   Chad Evans committed a horrible crime. He killed a baby - and he did so brutlly. He murdered Kassidy Bortner and a jury also found him guilty of charges of multiple assault on the defenseless child....

   There is no mitigating the brutality of Chad Evans.  Seeing him in prison until he is at least 90 years old is a small price to exact for the murder of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.

23 April 2002 "AG's appeal of Evans' sentence is most recent to tap new law" Foster's Daily Democrat by Brad Morin

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Prior to Jan. 1, prosecutors had no option but to accept a sentence they felt was too lenient....

   On Friday, the attorney general's office filed a request for sentence review in the case of Chad E. Evans....

   Sen. Burt Cohen, D.- New Castle, was the primary sponsor of the bill that gave prosecutors the ability to appeal sentences. He believes the Evans case is a good example of why it was needed.

  "If it ever was appropriate, this is appropriate," Cohen said Monday.  "This was certainly the intent of the bill.  It's good to see the results of my efforts making a difference."..

22 April 2002 "AG appeals Evans decision in murder of Rochester toddler"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Brad Morin

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Prosecutors are appealing the sentence of convicted murderer Chad E. Evans, who was ordered to serve 28 years to live in prison for beating to death his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter...

   At Evans' sentencing last week, the attorney general's office requested that he serve 60 years to life in prison. A presentence investigation conducted by the Department of Corrections recommended a sentence of 45 years to life.

19 April 2002 "Mom of murdered tot may enter plea" Portsmouth Herald, from the Associated Press. (See same article from Associated Press in 19 April Union Leader, "Bortner could plead guilty to charges of endangering")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER — The mother of Kassidy Bortner, the 21-month old girl who was murdered two years ago, is considering pleading guilty to child endangerment charges....
However, in an interview with Foster's Daily Democrat, Ruoff said the case may still go to trial.
   "We don't have any kind of deal with her at all ... I'm anticipating a trial," Ruoff said.
Bortner could not be reached for comment.

19 April 2002  "EDITORIAL - Justice denied: Kassidy was more than a statistic"  Foster's Daily Democrat

Excerpts from the editorial....

Kassidy Bortner is dead and Chad Evans is expected to spend at least 28 years in prison.

   Twenty-eight years? Where is the justice in the sentence?

   Chad Evans bead the life out of a 21-month-old child and he will be eligible for release when he is 58?...

   The words of Kassidy's aunt, Jennifer Bortner-Conley, in a taped interview with police, spoke volumes more than Judge Nadeau's statistical drivel.

   "She (Kassidy) will look down on you and she will ask you , 'Why, Chad, did you do this to me?' We just hope that you will look up at her, look into her beautiful eyes and tell her you are sorry and ask her to forgive you."...

18 April 2002 "AG may appeal Evans sentence"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Prosecutors are considering appealing the 28 years to life in prison sentence of a former Rochester man who beat his girlfriend's daughter to death in November 2000....

   "We don't believe that sentence was in line with the magnitude of the crime," Delker said....

18 April 2002  "Bortner may skip trial: Considers guilty plea"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Although the state is not offering her a deal, the mother of a toddler murdered in November 2000 may avoid a trial by pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges pending against her....

  In a March letter to Judge Tina L. Nadeau, Assistant Attorney General David W. Ruoff referenced communication from Bortner's court-appointed attorney that indicated "Ms. Bortner is apparenty agreeing to proceed with a naked plea to the two pending misdemeanor charges."...

17 April 2002 "Evans gets 28 years-to-life for toddler's murder" Union Leader by Jody Record

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- Ignoring recommendations from the state Attorney General's Office and a probation officer, Strafford County Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau yesterday ordered Chad Evans to serve a 28 years-to-life sentence for the beating murder of toddler Kassidy Bortner....
  Calling the state's recommendation "life without parole," Evans' attorneys Mark Sisti and Alan Cronheim argued for a reduced sentence.
  In rendering her decision, Nadeau said she discounted Brown's suggestion that rehabilitation for Evans was not an issue. She said she also considered the substantial support for Evans from friends and family, many of whom packed the Dover courtroom yesterday.

    "I have read every single letter, at least once," Nadeau said before handing down her decision. "I disagree with the state that rehabilitation should be the least of my concerns."
  Yet, she described Evans as a man who, until yesterday, had shown little remorse for inflicting the blows that led to Kassidy's death, and who refused to accept responsibility for his actions.
    In his brief address to the court, Evans apologized, saying there hadn't been a minute since Kassidy's death that he hadn't felt shame and regret for the things he'd done. 

    Turning to Bortner, who was sitting a few rows behind him, Evans said, "I'm so sorry for the emptiness you will feel for the rest of your life. You and Kassidy deserved a lot more. I'm so sorry."

17 April 2002 "Emotional Evans gets 28 years to life for tot's murder"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER — A tearful Chad Evans expressed remorse Tuesday for the beating death of 21-month old Kassidy Bortner, just moments before he was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison....
     Outside the courtroom, Evans' father was the only family member to respond to questions and said the family stands behind Chad and believes he's "100 percent" innocent.
   Sisti and Cronheim said they anticipate they will appeal the decision. They have 30 days to do so.
   Brown said he was disappointed with Nadeau's decision and said the judge relied on old rulings. He said the sentencing was the "last chapter in a long process."
  "We like to think in the last decade, we've learned a bit more about sentencing and the appropriate sentence in these sorts of cases."
     The attorney also said he found that many people seemed to forget that this was about a little girl who died so tragically.
  "Nobody mentioned Kassidy," he said.

17 April 2002 "Victim's family, prosecutor rap sentence as too weak"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Chad E. Evans will spend at least the next 28 years in prison, but relatives of the child he killed and prosecutors do not believe that is long enough. ...

   "I don't think the sentence was fair. I think he should have been gone a lot longer. He murdered a baby, and this is the first time I've seen any remorse from him," said Jennifer Bortner Conley, Kassidy's aunt....

   "I saw more emotion coming from him (Evans) than I did from her [Amanda, her sister]... I don't know what to think. She was definitely not a mother," she said....

   "We stand behind Chad. We believe in Chad 100 percent," Evans' father said as he departed.

17 April 2002 "Evans expresses 'shame and regret' for toddler's death"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders  (See similar Associated Press article, also in Foster's Daily Democrat, online, by J.M. Hirsch, "Evans sentenced 28-years to life in murder of 21-month old" and in the Keene Sentinel, the A.P. article by J.M. Hirsch, "Former Keene man gets 28 years to life in murder")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A former Rochester man will spend from 28 years to life in prison for the November 2000 beating death of his girlfriend's daughter...

  "Since the fall of 2000, Evans said, "there has not been a minute which I've felt anything but shame and regret."

   He stopped short, however, of admitting guilt for the death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner....

   Then, Evans turned to face Bortner who was seated with his family and friends in the courtroom. 

   "Amanda, I am so sorry for the emptiness and hurt you are going to feel for the rest of your life. You and Kassidy deserved a lot more.  I'm really sorry," he said.