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Durham arsonist appeals case

By Hadley Barndollar

Staff Writer

A former Peterborough EMT and firefighter convicted of arson after a series of 2013 fires in Durham has filed for appeal.

Gregory Potter was found guilty in February of five counts of arson and three counts of criminal mischief, according to previous reports from The New Hampshire. Potter set fire to five different properties in Durham on the night of Feb. 2, 2013, including 6 Main St., 15 Main St., 19 Main St., 20 Main St. and 4 Smith Park Lane. 

According to reports by Foster’s Daily Democrat, Potter has appealed his case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court regarding four specific questions. The appeal was filed on Aug. 31.

Concerns expressed in the appeal include decisions which Potter deemed questionable made by Strafford County Superior Court Judge Steven Houran according to Foster’s.

The first question addressed Houran’s decision to suppress some of Potter’s statements but not all.

The second attested to whether or not Houran committed an error when he did not dismiss charges against Potter on two instances when the defense claimed “prosecutorial misconduct.” 

The third question asked if Houran made a mistake when he overruled Potter’s motion to set aside verdicts after the defense team felt that Potter did not receive a fair trial.

Lastly, the fourth question addressed Houran’s decision to let a witness testify about previous statements where Potter was identified. 

Potter’s sentencing took place on July 31, where he was given four to 14 years in a state prison.

Deputy Strafford County Prosecutor Alysia Cassotis has also asked the Prison Review Division to review Potter’s sentence, according to Foster’s. She originally argued for a 12½- to 25-year state prison sentence. It is expected the request will not be reviewed until after the appeal process has been completed. 

As stated in initial reports by The New Hampshire, a barn and attached apartments at Smith Park Lane were both destroyed by the fire, but no one was injured. Several UNH students testified against Potter at the trial in February. 

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