Prosecutor Peter Hinckley Grills William Argie at Murder Trial

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A murder defendant in New Hampshire claimed to find his wife dead by suicide, but when a prosecutor confronted him for failing to call 911, he answered with a question.

“What would 911 do, sir?” William Argie, 49, said in court. In other words, it was futile to tell authorities that his wife Maureen Argie, 41, was dead.

This exchange was representative of his terse, often passive aggressive answers from the stand.

Authorities say Argie strangled his wife to death amid their pending divorce, attempted suicide, and then fled. A gambling addict, he was found the next day at a casino. According to prosecutors, Argie had previously solicited a friend to kill his wife.

Defendant Argie said on the stand Friday he would regret for the rest of his life not calling Maureen’s brother. Prosecutor Peter Hinckley asked him if he called any of Maureen’s loved ones. Argie said no.

He testified that he found his wife dead in a suicide at their home in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, on April 4, 2019.

Hinckley was incredulous, construing William Argie’s previous statements in direct examination as a character assassination on Maureen. He highlighted testimony that Argie repeatedly voiced the desire to kill Maureen. He suggested that Argie used Maureen’s debit card at a Dunkin Donuts on the way to the casino, and to get a hotel room at the casino. Argie denied this, though he acknowledged taking his wife’s car and cell phone.

Argie was contentious, if understated, during cross-examination. Case in point? When Hinckley grilled Argie on supposedly finding Maureen dead by suicide.

“Do you understand what ‘wedge’ means, sir?” Argie said, insisting that the found her held up by a ligature by the nightstand.

“Do you understand the concept of a noose?” Argie later said.

Responding to Hinckley’s question, he denied abandoning his dead wife’s body.

But prosecutor Heather Cherniske painted William Argie as a vindictive man, who wrongfully blamed his wife for all his personal problems. The defendant faced mounting debt, was unable to hold down a job, was behind on car payments, faced repossession, and discussed filing for bankruptcy, Cherniske said in opening statements. He discussed wanting to kill his wife and make it look like a suicide, she said. Meanwhile, Maureen was planning for life after marriage, interviewed for a new, better paying job the day before she died, and discussing plans to live with her children.

William Argie’s friends testified that he repeatedly said he wanted to kill his wife.

Jim Timbas said that Argie brought up that there was a $400,000 life insurance policy on Maureen Argie, and asked him to kill her for half of the money. Timbas said he refused.

“He often said that he would be better off without her, yes, he did,” Timbas said.

Argie talked about killing Maureen and taking the kids, and did not want to pay child support, friend Dan Larochelle testified.

“If he didn’t do it, he’d hire somebody,” Larochelle said.

Both sides rested their case Friday. Closing arguments are set for Monday.

 

[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]

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