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One capital murder trial is under way and another is about to start in New Hampshire, a state that last executed someone in 1939, has no one on death row and has no death chamber.

The first trial began Sept. 8 and involves John "Jay" Brooks, a millionaire businessman accused of orchestrating the 2005 kidnapping and murder of someone whom Brooks believed had stolen from him.

In the other case, jury selection was to begin Monday in the trial of Michael "Stix" Addison, who is charged with fatally shooting a Manchester police officer in 2006.

Death penalty opponents hope the simultaneous trials will focus attention on their cause, though they aren't planning another attempt to repeal the state's capital murder law when the Legislature convenes in January.

Both the House and Senate voted to repeal the death penalty in 2000, but then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen vetoed the bill. Last year, under the threat of a veto from Gov. John Lynch, the bill failed by 12 votes in the House.

New Hampshire's narrow capital murder law applies to a half dozen crimes, including killing a police officer, murder for hire and killing during a kidnapping. Prisoners who kill another while serving a life sentence, murder during a rape, and certain drug crimes also qualify.


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