New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
October 23, 1998
Author: LORNA COLQUHOUN Union Leader Correspondent
LITTLETON A little more than 12 hours before Thomas S. Hall allegedly shot to death a Woodsville man and wounded his ex-girlfriend, he reportedly called her to say he was holding a gun to his head and threatened to kill himself.
According to court papers, Diane Wiles talked with Hall and calmed him down. “She did not take his suicide threat seriously and stated she was not in fear of him,” wrote State Police Sgt. Craig Wiggin. Shortly after 7 p.m., Hall, 50, of Dalton, showed up at the Littleton home of Wiles and after a brief exchange of words, he allegedly opened fire, killing Bruce Enderson, 57, of Woodsville and wounding Wiles. Late yesterday, Hall was arraigned in Littleton District Court on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
In a courtroom packed with the victims’ and Hall’s family members as well as nine police officers Hall appeared wearing orange prison scrubs, looking unemotional and haggard. He entered no plea and is being held without bail at the Grafton County House of Correction.
Court papers say that Wiles, 51, and Hall lived together for two years at his Dalton home until about two weeks ago when she broke off the relationship and moved out. Until his call at 5 a.m. Wednesday, she told investigators, there had been no significant problems since the break-up.
Wiles and Enderson were co-workers at Hitchner Manufacturing in Littleton, court papers said. He was her immediate supervisor and she told investigators their relationship was one of friendship. “They were friends,” said Assistant Attorney General John Kacavas. “There is nothing more that we have determined.”
Early Wednesday evening, according to court papers, Wiles and Enderson were sitting at the kitchen table in the mobile home where she lived off Union Street. Hall walked in, uninvited and unannounced. “Hall immediately asked Enderson who he was and Enderson stated, ‘Bruce,’ ” the court papers said. “Hall then asked if his last name was Enderson and Enderson stated that it was.”
Hall then introduced himself and the two men shook hands. Then Hall left the residence. “A minute or two later, Hall re-entered the residence, again unannounced, and stood in the front doorway,” court papers said. “Wiles stated she immediately heard what sounded like caps exploding and saw that Hall was holding a small pistol in a two-hand hold and was shooting at Enderson . . . numerous times.” At one point, the documents said, Hall turned the gun on Wiles and shot her twice, before turning the gun back on Enderson, firing at least once.
Fearing for her life, Wiles fled to a convenience store across the street, where a clerk called for police. Meanwhile, investigators said, Hall drove off in his silver pick-up truck and ended up at his home in Dalton. “Hall stated he knew (police chief) John Tholl would be waiting to arrest him and also indicated he wanted to commit suicide,” court papers said.
After telling investigators he needed his medications that treat diabetes, colitis and depression, Wiggins and State Police Sgt. David Crawford went to his home. “I observed a handwritten note on the breakfast bar in the kitchen,” Wiggin wrote. “The note indicates that Hall was upset about Wiles leaving him and was upset that she ‘wants to see men she works with.’ ”
In the minutes following Wednesday’s shootings, police were on the lookout for Hall as far south as Woodstock. Tholl said he was waiting for Hall near his home. Weapons drawn, Tholl and Cpl. John St. Martin, shined a spotlight on Hall.
“He put his hands up,” Tholl said, and was taken into custody without incident. Police retrieved a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol that contained two rounds of ammunition, as well as a box of ammunition and holster. Tholl and state police investigators say Hall does not have a prior criminal record. “I had no trouble with them,” Tholl said. “I did have contact with them once when she and he were concerned about her ex-husband in January 1997.”
Hall worked for an auto dealer in Lancaster. And until a year ago he had been a pressman at the Coos Junction Press for 17 years, which printed the Coos County Democrat and the News and Sentinel of Colebrook until publisher John Harrigan closed it down.
Harrigan said yesterday the news of the shootings came as a surprise. “Tom was a good co-worker he was intelligent and upbeat,” said Harrigan. Kacavas said Wiles was treated Wednesday night at Littleton Regional Hospital for “grazing type” bullet wounds and later released.
An autopsy on Enderson, said Kacavas, showed that he suffered several gunshot wounds to his head and upper body. In the first-degree murder complaint, Hall is charged with killing Enderson “by shooting him in the head.” More than a dozen of Enderson’s family members were in court yesterday. They left tearfully and had no comment. Hall now faces a probable-cause hearing next Friday at 10 a.m.
This is the first murder in Littleton since 1995 almost three years to the day a woman shot and killed her husband. Cinthia Burlock is serving 33 years to life in prison for the Oct. 29, 1995, murder of Ralph Burlock. “It used to be there was a murder every 10 to 15 years now the average is about three years,” said Littleton Police Chief Louis Babin. “Murder will happen in a town. This raises the level of awareness to try and prevent it.”