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New Hampshire man charged with writing racist graffiti on homes expected to plead guilty


CONCORD, New Hampshire — A New Hampshire man accused of writing racist graffiti on the homes of four refugee families in Concord is expected to plead guilty next month to felony criminal mischief.

The Concord Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/1Wo8yhc ) Raymond Stevens' attorney filed a motion last week saying that he has been deemed fit to stand trial and now plans to enter a guilty plea.

He faces up to 30 years in prison. A hearing has been scheduled for Sept 2.

The 44-year-old was arrested in October 2013 and charged with writing hateful messages in black permanent marker on the homes of four African refugee families in the same Concord neighborhood in 2011 and 2012.

On one home was scrawled, "The subhumans in this house are enjoying a free ride." On another, "Go back to your hell and leave us alone."

He shot himself in the head on his 43rd birthday the month after his arrest, but survived. The shooting prompted several competency exams to determine if Stevens could be tried.

The crimes — unsolved for more than a year — ended in Stevens' arrest after Concord Det. Wade Brown looked through more than 1,000 criminal files and complaints generated from the city's South End between 2009-2011. He was looking for any handwritten documents featuring the distinctive lowercase letter "b'' written like the number six, along with other distinctive letters and unusual word choices used in the graffiti.

When that search came up empty, he turned to more than 1,500 gun permit applications on file with the Concord police department. He found a September 2012 gun permit application filed by Stevens, who once lived in the neighborhood targeted in the graffiti incidents.

Honore Murenzi, director of the community group "New American Africans," said one family targeted in the 2011 incidents moved away in fear soon after discovering the graffiti on their home. He said the other three families welcomed the arrests.

"The level of uncertainty no longer exists," said Murenzi in October 2013. He said the families — two each from Somalia and Congo — feared a violent attack would follow the graffiti.

Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.cmonitor.com

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