Court officials: Man who denied kidnapping to change plea


LACONIA, N.H. (AP) — A man who pleaded not guilty to charges he kidnapped a 14-year-old girl and raped her repeatedly during nine months of captivity is planning to enter a change of plea, court officials said Thursday.

Nathaniel Kibby was scheduled to go on trial next month in Belknap County Superior Court in Laconia on nearly 200 felony charges related to the girl’s October 2013 disappearance and the months that followed. A change-of-plea hearing was scheduled for Thursday evening, court officials said. The details of the change of plea weren’t disclosed, and Kibby’s lawyers declined to comment.

Last week, a judge ruled that the 35-year-old Kibby’s lawyers could not question the girl before his trial about her exposure to media coverage and the amount of freedom she was given to move about his trailer in Gorham, where prosecutors say he used a stun gun, zip ties and a shock collar to control her.

The girl returned to her North Conway home in July 2014, though prosecutors have not elaborated on the circumstances of her return. According to court documents, she was able to identify Kibby because she spotted his full name inside a cookbook in his home.

Judge Larry Smukler also denied Kibby’s bid to question the girl’s sister and three school workers about her home life and family dynamic.

Defense attorney Jesse Friedman argued that transcripts of recorded interviews between prosecutors and the girl “are not adequately specific as to the time frames of the alleged sexual assaults and (her) ability to move freely during her alleged captivity.” He said it was necessary to question the girl to prepare to cross-examine experts about domestic violence and Stockholm syndrome, a psychological condition in which people develop feelings of trust or affection toward their captors.

The judge noted the state provided the defense team with 12 interviews consisting of nearly 18 recorded hours and 685 pages of transcripts. In some, the girl described sexual assaults as occurring “every day, pretty much.”

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This story has been corrected to show court officials announced the change of plea on Thursday, not Friday.