CHICHESTER, N.H. - A pastor in this quiet, picturesque New England town thought he was doing the Christian thing when he took in a convicted child killer who had served his time but had nowhere to go.
But some neighbors of the Rev. David Pinckney vehemently disagree, one even threatening to burn his house down after officials could find no one else willing to take 60-year-old Raymond Guay.
"Politicians think they can dump their trash in our small town," said one neighbor, Jon Morales, whose girlfriend and two children live across an unpaved road from Pinckney's home.
Chichester, a town of about 2,200 residents in south-central New Hampshire, has been in an uproar since the weekend, when police announced that Guay would spend two months with Pinckney's family.
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Angry residents protest
About 40 angry residents protested outside the home Saturday, Merrimack County Sheriff Scott Hilliard said. One protester blustered that he wanted to set it on fire, he said.
Town leaders were expected Tuesday night to ask state and federal officials to remove Guay from town.
Guay already had a criminal record when he was charged in 1973, at age 25, with abducting and murdering a 12-year-old boy in Nashua. Authorities said he planned to sexually assault the boy, whose body was clad only in socks and undershorts.
Guay pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to up to 25 years. He kidnapped a Concord couple after briefly escaping from the nearby state prison in 1982 and was sent to a federal prison in California, where he stabbed an inmate in 1991, court records show.
After 35 years behind bars, he was released in September and ordered to serve his parole in New Hampshire. Guay's release followed a failed attempt by state officials to keep him incarcerated as a dangerous sexual predator under federal law.
Guay went instead to a halfway house in Connecticut but was returned to New Hampshire last week. Residents of Concord, where Pinckney leads a nondenominational congregation, loudly protested plans to put him there.
Pastor says Guay poses no threat
A Concord prison chaplain contacted Pinckney, who agreed to take Guay in after meeting him and clearing it with his wife and four children, ages 13 to 18. Guay is staying there while he looks for a job and place to live.
Pinckney did not return calls or answer the door when a reporter visited his house, but he assured the town in an open letter published Tuesday that Guay poses no threat.
"We would not be doing this if we thought we were endangering our town, neighbors or children," he wrote.
Though Guay "has committed some horrendous crimes in his past," he has been on "a very different course" since a religious transformation in 1993, Pinckney said.
Pinckney has told Guay he may only leave the house in a car with another adult and can live with the family for no more than two months.
Town resident Christine Swain, who has children ages 6 and 16, isn't reassured.
"There's so many kids in this community, and you just fear for them," she said. "You always do what's best for your children."
Some fear reprisals from neighbors
Another resident said Monday that she felt Guay deserved a second chance, but she spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared reprisals from neighbors.
Some outsiders are more forthcoming.
Conrad Mandsager of Nottingham worked for Prison Fellowship — a faith-based group that helps parolees find jobs — in the 1980s.
Mandsager said he took in a violent criminal to live with his family of five in 1988. Sentenced for attempted murder and kept in solitary confinement for his role in a prison riot, the man turned his life around while living with Mandsager and is working at a job through the Prison Fellowship, Mandsager said.
He disagrees with Chichester officials who say Guay would do better in a city with more jobs and other resources.
"You create more opportunities for problems by putting (convicts) in a larger city where there's no accountability," Mandsager said. He expects better results in a home like Pinckney's, "where there's accountability and care and love for the guy."
Little love for Guay is expected Tuesday evening, when a large crowd is sure to gather for the regular meeting of the town Board of Selectmen.
Selectman Richard DeBold expects the selectmen to ask state and federal officials to remove Guay — but he stressed that the selectmen have no legal authority in the matter.
"We have a very small police force with limited resources," DeBold said. "Just knowing those issues, this is not the appropriate place for (Guay)."