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Man found dead in Coos County believed to be missing Keene resident

Authorities believe a man found dead in northern Coos County on Tuesday under suspicious circumstances is a Keene resident reported missing earlier this week. Law enforcement officials announced Wednesday afternoon that the body was discovered in the unincorporated area of Atkinson and Gilmanton Academy Grant.

N.H. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and N.H. State Police Col. Nathan Noyes issued a news release saying that officials believe the body discovered Tuesday afternoon is that of Jonathan Amerault of Keene and characterized it as a “suspicious death.”

Amerault, 25, was reported missing on Monday morning after he did not show up to work in Jaffrey. Friends and family had not heard from him since Saturday, State Police said in an earlier news release.

No further details, including exactly where the body was found or information about any injuries that may have led to the man’s death, were available in the Wednesday release. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

It is not clear when the man is believed to have died. If he is, indeed, Amerault, authorities have not said how they believe he got to Coos County.

Kate Giaquinto, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, declined to provide additional information Wednesday afternoon, citing the ongoing investigation.

Investigators do not believe there is any danger to the public, according to the release, which does not specify how they came to that conclusion.

Amerault, a Milford native, attended Milford High School, where he was captain of the indoor track, outdoor track and cross-country teams, according to an April 2013 article written by his mother, Justine Amerault, in the Milford Patch. He also won multiple volunteer service awards, the article says.

At the time, his mother wrote, he planned to study biomedical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.

Anyone with information about Amerault’s whereabouts since Saturday is asked to call N.H. State Police at 603-MCU-TIPS. (603-628-8477


Open Democracy, a nonpartisan organization founded by the late Doris “Granny D” Haddock and other activists, was in Keene this past Friday to interview people about Haddock’s RV “Rosie” and the role it played in her voter-registration efforts and 2004 run for U.S. Senate. Here, Ruth Meyer — a close friend of Haddock and her archivist — is interviewed by Brian Beihl, right, deputy director of Open Democracy and Open Democracy Action, and videographer Dave Kirkpatrick of Iron Horse Audio and Video Productions in Antrim. Haddock, of Dublin, famously walked across the country in support of

campaign finance reform in the late 1990s. She died in 2010 at the age of 100. In an email, Beihl said the RV had been in storage for the better part of 15 years and was set to be taken to Strafford for restoration work. More information about the project is available at https://www.opendemocracynh.org/rescuerosie. As for the interviews, Beihl said they’ll be made

available to broadcast media.


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Keene panel satisfied with first look at rules to hold party hosts accountable

The first draft of a social host ordinance — which would hold the hosts of parties accountable for keeping them in check — has been presented to the Keene City Council’s Planning, Licenses and Development Committee.

During the committee’s Wednesday meeting, City Attorney Tom Mullins read the draft aloud. The ordinance would define what constitutes an unruly gathering and lays out the penalties for failing to prevent parties from getting out of hand. He noted that he looked over a number of social host ordinances in other parts of the country, including ones in Amherst, Mass., and San Marcos, Texas.

“A lot of the language comes from the San Marcos ordinance,” Mullins said. “In the end, I decided that the San Marcos approach was probably the most comprehensive but also the most efficient, the simplest one.”

The committee first recommended that an ordinance be drafted in June, following a request from a group known as Concerned East Side Neighbors. The neighbors had been working for several years to research social host ordinances after many of them experienced loud house parties near their homes.

As drafted, the ordinance would require the hosts of social gatherings to ensure that noise stays under control, that any alcohol is consumed in accordance with existing laws and to make sure roads and driveways are not blocked. It also authorizes police officers to require that guests at a party vacate the premises if the officer determines that a gathering violates the ordinance.

The draft includes a four-tier penalty system. A written warning would be issued for the first offense, a $300 fine is possible for the second offense, $500 for the third offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. Penalties would be served upon the hosts, with the exception of the $300 fine, which could also be levied against individuals at unruly gatherings if they ignore a verbal warning.

Penalties are cumulative, meaning that if an officer issues a written warning, but later that night is called back to the same unruly gathering, a fine can then be issued. However, the sequence of fines resets one year after the written warning is issued.

Additionally, if a warning or fine is issued to the resident of a rental property, the police would be required under the draft ordinance to notify the landlord of that property within three days.

“This is an excellent first swing at this,” Councilor Mitch Greenwald said. As someone who owns several rental properties around town, he said he feels the draft is fair to landlords.

While committee members seemed pleased with the draft, they were not without questions or suggestions for improvement. Greenwald asked whether a complaint is required for a police officer to intervene in an unruly gathering or whether they could choose to step in if they saw a party they believed violated the ordinance while on patrol.

Greenwald also asked about how police would keep track of the violations. City Manager Elizabeth Dragon said the Keene Police Department has a system for tracking violations, but said that system would need some changes before it’s capable of keeping up with the requirements of the proposed new ordinance.

The committee also took questions and comments from a couple of community members who expressed support for the city’s efforts.

Committee Chairwoman Kate Bosley, in response to a question from a member of the public, noted that she would like the ordinance to specify that warnings and fines follow the people who are issued them and are not attached to the property, so that future residents don’t pay for the actions of previous occupants. Mullins agreed and said he would keep that in mind while working on the next draft.

Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell said the college has been working with community stakeholders to see what steps it can take to help curb rowdy parties. She said she feels the draft social host ordinance will help to advance Keene State’s commitment to being a good neighbor.

One resident, Pete Moran, raised a few questions, including one about the singular use of the word “host” rather than the plural. He asked how “host” would be defined in the event that there are multiple names on a deed or lease and how many individuals would be fined for the same party.

Mullins said this is something he would give some additional thought to. He plans to prepare a new draft of the ordinance for the committee to examine at its next meeting on Oct. 7.

Still, Moran, a member of the Concerned East Side Neighbors group, said the draft does a good job of doing what it is meant to do.

“At the end of the day, the ultimate issue was to get to the root of the problem,” he said. “And I think this really does that."


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Christopher Cantwell trial
Details emerge in feud between Cantwell, podcaster in second day of trial

Cantwell

CONCORD — A Missouri man who got involved with online white nationalism told a jury Wednesday how his life intersected Christopher Cantwell’s in a way that landed them both in a federal courtroom.

Cantwell, 39, a white-nationalist podcaster who lives in Keene, is being tried this week on federal charges alleging he harassed, threatened and attempted to extort the other man, Benjamin Lambert of Winfield, Mo.

The allegations grow out of Cantwell’s feud with an online white-nationalist collective known as the “Bowl Patrol,” which initially hailed him as a fellow traveler before turning on him, according to court testimony.

Lambert — who went by the online handle “Cheddar Mane,” among other aliases — was part of the Bowl Patrol.

The Bowl Patrol has used its online channels to venerate mass shooters and glorify racist violence. Its name refers to the bowl-cut hairstyle of Dylann S. Roof, who murdered nine Black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., in 2015.

Lambert joined the group in 2018 after seeing a YouTube video posted by a group member known as “Tactical — Bowlcut,” he testified in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, the second day of the trial.

“I came across one of the videos and then we became friends on Facebook, and it just went from there,” Lambert said.

Soon Lambert was a core member of the group, appearing on its “Bowlcast” podcast.

Lambert said he listened to Cantwell’s live shows and arranged for Cantwell to be a guest on the first Bowlcast episode.

But Lambert and his friends soured on Cantwell around the end of 2018.

“I think that many of the members of Bowl Patrol thought that he had shifted his ideology, and so it appeared that he was trying to use his platform to make money and didn’t believe what he was saying,” Lambert testified.

Lambert and others began prank-calling Cantwell on air, which seemed to enrage him, according to evidence presented in court.

In February 2019, when someone defaced Cantwell’s website, he blamed it on Bowl Patrol members and reported it to the FBI. (Lambert said he wasn’t involved in that.)

The following month, in an online exchange, Cantwell warned Lambert to stay away “or I’ll dox your stupid ass.” Doxing means to expose someone’s real identity or personal information online.

Lambert said he stopped bothering Cantwell for a time and told others they should stop too.

But in June 2019, Lambert said, he followed a link for a chat group called “Peaceful White Folk” on the social-media site Telegram, without realizing it was run by Cantwell. He posted a few times, then was kicked out, and Cantwell messaged him privately.

“I guess you forgot the lesson which kept you away for a short while, do you need to be reminded?” Cantwell wrote before adding the name of Lambert’s street, according to a screenshot of the conversation displayed in court.

The back-and-forth that unfolded over the next couple days forms the core of the government’s case. Cantwell threatened to dox Lambert and publish images online of him, his wife and their three kids; said he would report them to child protective services; and implied that he or one of his listeners would sexually assault Lambert’s wife if he didn’t get what he wanted.

Prosecutors say Cantwell was pressuring Lambert for information on the Bowl Patrol’s unofficial leader, who goes by “Vic Mackey” online.

“Give me Vic, it’s your only out,” Cantwell wrote.

Lambert declined.

In court Wednesday, Lambert said he was angered that Cantwell brought his family into it. He also said the threat to dox him made him anxious.

“The things that we are saying are not things that are good,” he said. “It’s terrible stuff that people would be offended by. It could have cost me my job, it could have cost me friends.”

Cantwell had gotten Lambert’s address and the photos from an ex-girlfriend of Cantwell’s, who went as “Peach” online and had visited Lambert in late 2018 after they connected through an online group for one of Cantwell’s shows, “Radical Agenda.”

That June, Cantwell posted the photos and Lambert’s street in the Radical Agenda group, according to evidence presented in court. He also called a Missouri child-abuse hotline to report the person he then knew as Cheddar Mane. (The authorities did not act on it.)

“If I could just drive down to [Lambert’s road] and shoot this idiot I would,” Cantwell wrote as he posted the photos, according to a screenshot presented in court. “But I can’t, so I’ll let the law do it.”

The first two days of testimony featured numerous references to online culture, with witnesses pausing to define terms like “dox,” “meme” and “screenshot.” The lawyers frequently displayed private messages and social-media posts on large screens in the courtroom. Witnesses sometimes had to read back text replete with curses and ethnic slurs.

FBI Special Agent Shayne Tongbua also walked the jury through some of the web’s darker concepts, including “incels” — a misogynistic subculture of sexually frustrated men — and “accelerationism,” or the idea of hastening the government’s collapse, including through racist violence, to start anew. Tongbua said the Bowl Patrol adheres to that idea.

On Tuesday, prosecutors elicited details about Lambert’s real life. Married, with three kids and a fourth on the way, he has worked in manufacturing.

Prosecutors also highlighted the actions he said he took after the June 2019 exchange with Cantwell. Lambert testified that he drove his wife to and from work for a couple days, asked his lawyer whether he should contact police and bought a motion-activated camera for his property, though didn’t install it until October.

Lambert said he left the Bowl Patrol about a year ago.

Cantwell’s attorneys, meanwhile, played up Lambert’s former online persona.

Defense attorney Eric Wolpin displayed Cheddar Mane’s avatar — a ghoulish skeleton in camo carrying an assault rifle and, in one image, wearing a headband that read “KILL JEWS.”

In an audio clip from a Bowlcast episode played in court, Vic Mackey joked about raping Jason Kessler, an organizer of the Unite the Right rally that drew white nationalists to Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017.

“Is it cool if I hold him down while you rape him?” Lambert, as Cheddar Mane, chimed in.

Cantwell’s defense attorneys are advancing the theory that his words should not be seen as true threats in the context of a subculture awash in rape jokes and casual talk of violence.

They also said Lambert was recorded on a call to a friend in jail saying, “Doxing people is not really a big deal like it used to be.”

Closing arguments are expected Friday or Monday.

In a statement Monday to the journalist Hilary Sargent, Lambert said he is “beginning the process of removing myself from this dark, hateful ideology and poisonous culture completely” and apologized for what he had said on the Bowlcast.

“During these podcasts, I said horrific racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic things,” he said in the statement. “I am beginning to understand the impact of these hateful, hurtful statements.”

This article has been changed to correct the description of Jason Kessler.