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Suspect in machete attack regrets girl’s survival

One of the men charged with killing a Mont Vernon woman in her bed told police his only regret was that he didn't also succeed in killing her 11-year-old daughter.
Christopher Gribble, is escorted into District Court in Milford, N.H., for his arraignment on first-degree murder. Jim Cole / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

One of the men charged with killing a Mont Vernon woman in her bed told police his only regret was that he didn't also succeed in killing her 11-year-old daughter, who was sleeping in the same room, according to police documents released Tuesday.

Christopher Gribble, 20, told police after his arrest he had wanted to kill someone for a long time and was disappointed he didn't feel any emotion following the Oct. 4 killing of Kimberly Cates, 42, in her home. Cates' daughter, 11-year-old Jaimie, was injured during the attack.

"Gribble stated his only regret was he didn't kill the child because she now had to live with this," the documents said. "Gribble stated that if he realized she was alive he would have killed her."

Five men, ages 18 to 20, were charged in connection with the early morning home invasion. Documents supporting the arrests of the four men accused of entering Cates' home were released Tuesday after a request from The Associated Press and other media outlets.

The judge had refused to release the documents earlier, saying to do so could have revealed the scope and direction of the state's investigation.

Details of horrific encounter
The killing stunned Mont Vernon, a rural town of about 2,000 residents near the Massachusetts border where Cates worked as a nurse. A community group has been working on a strategy to help residents deal with the release of the court documents, with three public forums planned this month.

Gribble's account provides a graphic description of what happened after he and three others entered the Cates home and found Kimberly Cates in her bed. Jaimie Cates was sleeping in the same room, although it was unclear if they were sleeping in the same bed. Kimberly Cates' husband, David, was traveling.

Gribble told police they shut off electricity to the house. He and three others — Steven Spader, 18, of Brookline, and William Marks and Quinn Glover, both 18 and of Amherst — and then went to the master bedroom, where Cates woke up, Gribble said.

Spader attacked Kimberly Cates with a machete, Gribble said. Jaimie then jumped over her mother and Gribble stabbed her in the face and in the chest, trying to puncture her heart to kill her, he said. He said he then threw her against a door and assumed she was dead. She later told police she pretended to be dead.

After the attack, four of the men searched the house for valuables, Gribble told police.

Charges filed
Gribble and Spader have been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.

Spader is accused of driving the group to Kimberly Cates' neighborhood and cutting her with a machete in the head, torso, arms and legs. Gribble is accused of stabbing her with a knife. Both are accused of attacking Jaimie, who was hospitalized for more than two weeks.

Spader denied any involvement in the attack when interviewed by police. He said he did not know who did it and "that whoever did it should get the death penalty," according to the affidavit.

Marks and Glover are charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and robbery.

Prosecutors said the group picked the home at random and because it was on an isolated road, but all knew of the plan to kill whoever was home.

In November, a fifth man, 20-year-old Autumn Savoy of Hollis, was charged with coming up with the plan to toss clothing and other items from the crime scene into the Nashua River. He also was charged with telling police that Gribble and Spader spent the night at his home.

Prosecutors said Gribble and Spader came to Savoy's home after the attack, believing both mother and daughter were dead. The three men went on the Internet to search for news of the attack and discovered that Jaimie Cates had survived, prosecutors said.