For Immediate Release
August 22, 2013
Jeffery A. Strelzin, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Chief, Homicide Unit
Office: (603) 271-3671
New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster and Nashua Police Chief John J. Seusing announce that additional information is available regarding the June 2013 murder of William and Eleanor Grant in Nashua, New Hampshire.
On June 17, 2013, the bodies of William (age 83) and Eleanor Grant (age 78), were discovered in their home by a visiting nurse. Subsequent autopsies revealed that the Grants had died from multiple stab wounds. The evidence at the scene also indicated that robbery was a potential motive for the killings.
Evidentiary leads were developed that quickly pointed to Shawn Burne (age 37), as a suspect in the killings. Burne was known to the Nashua Police Department and lived next door to the Grants.
After the investigation focused on Burne, evidence was gathered that showed that Burne had been in possession of property positively identified as belonging to the Grants very quickly after their murders, that no other property belonging to the Grants appears to have been taken from their residence other than property in Burne's possession afterwards, and that Burne had been inside the Grants' home after their deaths. Burne was also untruthful with detectives regarding his activities around the time of the murders, lending further credence to his status as suspect.
As the investigation focused into Shawn Burne progressed, additional evidence was gathered that provided circumstantial evidence of Burne's involvement in the murders.
The Nashua Police Department kept Burne under surveillance, and continued to collect evidence that pointed to Burne as the Grants' killer. During the active surveillance on Shawn Burne, police noticed that he had not left his apartment in some time. On June 26, 2013, the police tried to reach Burne inside his apartment, with no success. Police officers eventually gained entry into Burne's apartment, where they discovered him dead. An autopsy conducted on Burne's body determined that his cause of death was acute intoxication by the combined effect of venlafaxine, olanzapine, and clonazepam, and that his manner of death was suicide. Items found inside Burne's apartment, including a note that he left behind, was further evidence that he died of an intentional and self-inflicted drug overdose.
In the note left in his apartment, Shawn Burne wrote that he had not killed the Grants. Nevertheless, based on the totality of the evidence gathered throughout the investigation, there is probable cause to believe that Burne killed William and Eleanor Grant during a robbery. Since the level of proof against Shawn Burne at this point does not rise to beyond a reasonable doubt, the Nashua Police Department will not permanently close the investigation into the murders of William and Eleanor Grant. However, based on the totality of the evidence and the reasonable inferences drawn from that evidence, there are no other obvious suspects in the case and today no other person is being sought in connection with the Grants' murders.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301