2 Canadians arrested in ’88 Nashua killings

By Lynne Tuohy
Associated Press / April 13, 2011

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Modern DNA testing techniques and a witness now willing to testify enabled New Hampshire police to file new charges in the October 1988 slaying of two women in Nashua, officials said yesterday.

Anthony Barnaby, 43, was arrested Monday in Montreal while David Caplin, 49, was arrested in New Carlisle, Quebec. The men are Canadian Micmac Indians who were working construction in Nashua when Charlene Ranstrom, 48, and Brenda Warner, 32, were stabbed to death in their home.

“The Nashua Police Department never gave up on this case and they never gave up on the victims of this brutal crime,’’ Attorney General Michael Delaney said at a Nashua news conference where officials provided details of the case.

The Justice Department is working with its Canadian counterparts to extradite the men to the United States to face charges. It could be some time before they are back in New Hampshire, officials said.

Barnaby was prosecuted three times in the killings of Ranstrom and Warner; all three ended in mistrials, the last in 1990.

Prosecutors at Barnaby’s trials argued that he killed the women because he disliked their lesbian lifestyle and had a longstanding feud with them over parking spaces and damage to their apartment.

Murder charges against the other man, David Caplin, 49, were dropped 20 years ago after pretrial statements he made were suppressed by a judge. Prosecutors at the time said the balance of their evidence against Caplin was circumstantial.

When Barnaby was released from jail in 1990, after being held 21 months without bond during the three trials, he proclaimed his innocence and said he was returning to Canada.

Both defendants came to Nashua to work construction jobs during a boom in the housing market. They grew up together on the Restigouche Indian reservation in northern Quebec and were roommates at the time of the killings.

Police at the time said Barnaby admitted he and Caplin broke into the women’s Mason Street apartment on Oct. 3, 1988, tied up the women and then beat and stabbed them to death. But defense lawyers at trial argued the confessions were coerced during a lengthy police interrogation.