Two front-page stories this week essentially said that nothing, or next-to-nothing, new had happened.
The first, which ran on Thursday, indeed noted that a date has been set for next Wednesday for the Salem Superior Court arraignment of John “Jack” Dugan, the 27-year-old Gloucester man accused of gutting his pet pit bull Xena after the dog had wolfed down some bagged and unbagged heroin at Dugan’s apartment.
But, as we had already reported, there remains no word on what new evidence or investigative focus has led to the addition of drug-related charges that Gloucester police had not filed when the truly stunning incident first occurred last December, or to additional charges of animal cruelty, given that Dugan is now facing three counts.
And Carrie Kimball Monahan, representing the office of Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, has said only that prosecutors will explain the additional charges at the arraignment, just as she had said when Dugan was first indicted in Superior Court, a step that opens the door to prison, rather than mere jail time.
The second such story was Friday’s piece that basically said there were no new developments whatsoever in the case of the deadly May 18 Pond View housing complex incident in which a Salem man died after being struck or run over by a car in the midst of what neighbors and other sources have described as an apparent domestic dispute.
The incident, which cost 29-year-old Michael J. Linscott his life, has notably not been classified as an “accident,” by the DA’s office. Yet there have been no arrests of charges, either, with Monahan indicating only that the investigation is “ongoing,” and authorities are awaiting an autopsy report on the victim.
Each of these stories might be considered updates — and they are. It’s just that there was little or no new information with which to proide any updates. And given that, you may wonder what’s the point.
Why print these stories at all? Why would your community’s newspaper do that?
To be sure that readers and community residents are very much aware that these investigations and court proceedings are still very active – that neither investigators nor the judicial system have let them slip under the proverbial rug. For what it’s worth, we also want to be sure you know that we — as the newspaper representing you, our community residents — have not forgotten them, either, and that we are not about to let them fade to memory or remain forever unresolved.
There are frankly a number of questions that remain to be answered in court, or by investigators. Our reporters — in these cases, Marjorie Nesin — are out there asking questions about these and other issues on a regular basis, and I think it’s important to let you know that process is indeed ongoing, even if the answers may not yet be the ones we’d all like to hear.
What is the new evidence, and to what extent was the accused involved in any now-alleged drug distribution in what we’ve come to call the pit bull heroin case?
Why, after Gloucester police carried out initial questioning of driver James Hayes of Haverhill at the scene of the Pond View incident, then interviewed him at the Gloucester police station at around 4 a.m., was he not detained? The AG’s office has said Hayes has been “cooperating,” but if the incident is not an accident, then what is it, if not a crime?
All of these questions should be answered in the weeks to come. But in the meantime, we felt it was important to remind you and our public officials that our community deserves answers to these questions and resolutions to these cases.
That’s why we updated these stories this week — and will continue to do so as these cases play out in the courts and among police investigators.
As always, let me know what you think.
Questions? Comments? Is there an issue you’d like to see addressed in a future column? Contact Times Editor Ray Lamont at 978-283-7000, x3432, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.