CONCORD, N.H. (WHDH) - A former New Hampshire corrections officer was arrested and charged in the death of a patient at the Secure Psychiatric Unit of the state’s Department of Corrections.
Matthew Millar, 39, of Boscawen, New Hamphsire was arrested Thursday and charged with second-degree murder for causing the death of Jason Rothe, 50, in April of last year.
“The decision to bring a charge of this nature for on duty conduct by a law enforcement officer was not made lightly, but was based on a careful and thorough review of the facts and the law,” Attorney General John Formella said in a statement. “The charge in this incident represents allegations against one specific individual. It should in no way be taken as a reflection on the behavior or overall professionalism of the hardworking men and women at the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, particularly those who provide care and security to patients at the Secure Psychiatric Unit.”
According to the Attorney General’s office, Millar “recklessly caus[ed] the death of Jason Rothe under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life, by using his arms and/or legs to apply force and pressure to Mr. Rothe’s torso and/or neck, thereby causing his death by combined traumatic (compressional) and positional asphyxiation.”
The affidavit alleges that on April 29, 2023, six corrections officers “engaged in a use of force incident” resulting in Rothe’s death. Formella’s office said they do not anticipate that charges will be filed against the other officers.
Fomella’s office said their investigation “produced evidence that Matthew Millar applied downward pressure with his knee and arms onto Mr. Rothe’s torso/neck area for several minutes while Mr. Rothe was hand cuffed and faced down on the floor, contrary to DOC’s use-of-force protocols and training.”
In a statement, Department of Corrections Commissioner Helen Hanks expressed her sympathy to Rothe’s family and loved ones.
“The allegations released today are reprehensible and do not align with my expectations of staff, nor do they align to the Department’s mission and responsibilities,” she said. “The Department prides itself on the dedicated staff that provide exemplary humane care in pursuit of our mission. Everyday New Hampshire Department of Correction’s staff commit themselves to doing difficult work in a challenging environment.”
Millar was arraigned Thursday at the Concord Circuit Court.
(Copyright (c) 2023 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)