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NH Justice’s Son Arraigned in Attack

April 1, 2002

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) _ The son of a New Hampshire Supreme Court justice used a guitar to pound his father in the face after drinking for several hours, a prosecutor said Monday.

John Christian Broderick, 30, was arraigned Monday on a charge of assault and ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail. If he is released, he must stay more than 100 yards away from his father and not drink, a judge said.

Justice John Broderick, 54, was attacked in his sleep early Saturday and was beaten so severely that a top state official couldn’t recognize him. Broderick, 54, remained in serious condition Monday at Elliot Hospital, where he underwent six hours of surgery on Saturday.

The young Broderick used a guitar or the neck of a guitar and ``repeatedly struck his father in the head,″ causing injuries that included multiple broken bones in his face, Assistant Attorney General William Delker told the judge during Monday’s arraignment.

Delker would not say if the guitar was a hollow acoustic instrument or a heavier electric guitar. John Christian Broderick allegedly threw the guitar away after leaving his parent’s condominium, and Delker would not say if police had found it.

The assault followed a daylong argument between the two men, according to a police affidavit. Broderick went to bed after his son apologized to him, but his son began drinking.

``The more he drank, the more he stewed about the fight,″ Delker said. ``He eventually decided to attack his father while he slept.″

The injured justice went to his wife’s bedroom and told her ’``Look what he did to me,‴ Delker said.

John Christian Broderick returned a couple of hours after the attack, with bloodstained clothes, asking if he could see the crime scene and whether his father was all right, according to the affidavit. He was drunk and said he had nowhere to go, so officers took him into protective custody and had him admitted to Catholic Medical Center.

He was on probation after pleading guilty in February to a Massachusetts charge of unarmed robbery, Delker said. The younger Broderick also recently pleaded guilty in Manchester to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. That incident also involved alcohol, Delker said.

Two years ago, the elder Broderick was charged with slapping his son across the face, according to court records. The charge was later dropped. At the time, Broderick blamed the altercation on his son’s drinking problem.

When the case came to court, a prosecutor explained the incident had begun when Broderick told his son he had eight weeks to move out. Christian Broderick allegedly replied: ``You have eight hours until you’re in the ground.″

The prosecutor said Broderick considered the remark a threat.

Broderick, a former co-chairman of Bill Clinton’s 1991-92 state presidential campaign, was appointed to New Hampshire’s high court in October 1995.

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