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Jailhouse fracas sends inmate to Dartmouth-Hitchcock


January 06, 2010
WEST STEWARTSTOWN — A two-man fracas on New Year's Eve sent an inmate to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon for treatment of head injuries.

Kurt Leonard, 50, of Columbia, allegedly a fugitive from justice in the state of Vermont who was unable to raise $10,000 cash bail, was hit around the head and face at approximately 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31, by another inmate. The altercation lasted three or four minutes, said Corporal Bernard Gagnon, a 17-year veteran of the Cos County Department of Corrections, in a Monday afternoon telephone interview. Taunting, name-calling, and finger pointing apparently sparked the incident, Cpl. Gagnon said.

Mr. Leonard was transported to DHMC where he is being treated for bleeding in the brain, said Cpl. Leonard said, who also noted that he had lost a tooth and had facial bruises.

The corrections officer said that he anticipated that later this week Mr. Leonard would be released from the hospital. He did not know if he would return to the Cos County jail or to some other secure facility.

Christopher Dion, 35, of Colebrook allegedly was the other inmate involved in the altercation. Apparently he was not injured and did not require medical attention, Cpl. Gagnon said.

Three or four corrections officers were on duty at the time of the incident, Cpl. Gagnon said.

Members of the Cos County Sheriff's Department are keeping Mr. Leonard under 24-hour surveillance at DHMC.

The incident is now under investigation by the State Police, according to Cpl. Gagnon. Acting Corrections Superintendent and county

administrator Sue Collins was on vacation on Monday, Jan. 4, and not available for comment.

No up-to-date information about Mr. Leonard's condition is available, since the patient is on a list of those about whom no information is to be released, explained a DHMC public relations spokesman.

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