- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A man convicted of attempted murder in the 2012 shooting of a Manchester police officer had his appeal rejected Wednesday by New Hampshire’s highest court.

Myles Webster’s lawyer had argued that the release of Webster’s booking photo five hours before he was arraigned tainted eyewitness identifications. But the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled the photo release wasn’t an unnecessarily suggestive identification procedure.

Webster, who is serving 60 years to life in prison, offered a mistaken identity defense during his trial in the shooting of Officer Dan Doherty during a foot chase on March 21, 2012.

At a hearing last month, Doherty said it was ludicrous to doubt that he could reliably identify the man who fired seven shots into his body at near point-blank range.

“I looked right at him while he was shooting me,” Doherty said. “I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever forget. I’m 100 percent confident.”

Doherty returned to work nearly a year after the shooting, following multiple surgeries. He was the first uniformed officer to respond to a plainclothes officer’s request for assistance to apprehend a man who was acting agitated and was yelling at drivers.

Defense attorney David Rothstein said he was still reviewing the court opinion and that it was too soon to comment further.

At appeal, the high court justices pointed out that Webster’s arraignment was open to the media and generated still photos and video. In Wednesday’s ruling, they mentioned another ruling that said a witness’ viewing of a photo through the media isn’t engineered by the prosecution or law enforcement agencies. They also noted that at trial the defense vigorously cross-examined Doherty and others who identified Webster as the shooter.

Assistant Attorney General Stacey Pawlik had argued a lower court ruled all the eyewitness identifications were reliable.

Pawlik said any error by the trial court was rendered harmless by the sheer volume of evidence that Webster was the shooter, including surveillance video that showed what he was wearing that night and witness identification of the gun that was linked to him.

Witnesses also reported Webster’s mug shot - with his long, thick hair down - differed from how they saw him feeling the scene, Pawlik said. She said Webster’s hair was in a ponytail at the time of the shooting and it came undone as he fled.

The high court also upheld the trial judge’s decision to deny Webster a change of venue.


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