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Mystery surrounds Plymouth resident's murder

September 14, 2011
PLYMOUTH — Law enforcement authorities remain close-lipped regarding details of the murder of John Labbe, 54, of 761 Texas Hill Rd. in Plymouth.

Officials have said that there does not appear to be any risk to the public.

Labbe was found dead in a shed on the property in Plymouth on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 8, after a call for medical assistance came in to authorities around 2:30 p.m. on that day.

On Friday, after performing an autopsy, the State's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas Andrew, ruled the death a homicide.

Labbe was the victim of multiple gunshot wounds.

Much about the incident is unclear at this juncture. It has been reported that Labbe was discovered by someone who stopped off at the house to do business with him. The person has said that he then ran to the home and asked the victim's wife to call 911 for assistance.

The Labbes lived in a fairly remote area of town, and thus far, no witnesses have been publicly reported as coming forward. The State Attorney General's Office is asking for anyone with any information to call the State Police at 271-3636.

John Labbe became well known to many in the state of New Hampshire after he first filed civil suit in Hillsborough Superior Court naming the Archidiocese of Manchester and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate as defendants, alleging multiple incidents of child sexual abuse by a priest from Our Lady of Grace Shrine over the course of a four-year period in the 1960's, when he was a serving as a young altar boy at St. Brendan's Catholic Church.

In the suit, filed in May 2010, Labbe, a Colebrook native, claimed repeated abuse by Fr. George St. Jean, now deceased.

According to Labbe's lawyer, Jessica Arbour, of Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A., a Florida lawfirm specializing in abuse cases, there were also other reports of abuse by Fr. St. Jean that came to light in 2009, in a report issued by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office. The suit contends that member of the diocese knew or should have known that multiple abuse allegations had been lodged against Fr. St. Jean, yet continued to give him assignments that put him in contact with young children.

The lawsuit was still in the earliest phases and had not yet been heard in court.

It is not clear whether Labbe's standing as a party to the lawsuit has any relevance to his death.

In addition to State Police, Labbe's death is being investigated by the NH Attorney General's Office and the Plymouth Police Department.

Varney Smith
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