Original article no longer available
New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
April 13, 2000
LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) – A New Hampshire man charged with assault with intent to murder in a road rage incident may use insanity as a defense. Steven Kolhonen, 33, of Londonderry, is accused of ramming his sport utility vehicle into a smaller car Halloween night. Police say he pushed the car from behind at high speeds on Route 114 in North Andover. In paperwork filed Friday in Lawrence District Court, Kolhonen’s lawyer reserved the right to use insanity as a defense at his June trial. “That’s all it is, just reserving the right,” Jamie James said Monday.
Last winter, Kolhonen told reporters he had been hospitalized for depression in the weeks surrounding the incident and was taking antidepressants that night. Kolhonen has said he lightly bumped a car in front of him when its driver slammed on the brakes. He said the occupants might have been irritated because the headlights on his high-riding SUV shone into their car. He claims when he and the other car pulled over, he was assaulted and threatened by friends of the car’s driver before he drove away, smashed into another car and sped to a police station. But authorities and witnesses painted a different picture, saying he deliberately rammed and pushed the car after he was cut off in traffic.
Kolhonen was arrested on a variety of charges, including assault with intent to murder and threatening murder. Five days after the driving incident, firefighters were called to Kolhonen’s home to find his SUV in flames. Kolhonen said the fire followed two days of threatening phone calls, which he had reported to the police. Two days later, Kolhonen reported waking up in a burning house. But in January, he was charged with insurance fraud relating to the car fire and arson for the house fire. Kolhonen also has waived his right to a jury trial, choosing instead to have his case heard before a judge. Index Terms: AP Record Number: 0F544F130B6778D7