MILFORD — The Wilton man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death at their home on Friday has been denied bail at a Milford District Court arraignment on Tuesday.
Benjamin Duling, 34, wearing a bulletproof vest, ignored questions from reporters as he was hustled into the courthouse by New Hampshire State Police troopers for the Monday morning hearing. He only said one word – “Yes” – after being asked by Judge Martha Crocker if he wanted a public defender to represent him.
Jeffrey Strelzin, senior assistant state attorney general, got no argument from Duling’s public defender when he asked Crocker to deny bail and keep Duling in jail, pending a probable cause hearing next month.
Duling was arrested Monday morning and charged with second-degree murder in the April 18 stabbing death of his girlfriend, 35-year-old Shelly McGrade in their home on Duling Lane, a cul-de-sac off Abbot Hill Road in Wilton.
The complaint alleges he stabbed McGrade, in the neck and back at their isolated home at 32 Duling Lane.
Duling appeared in court shackled at wrist and ankle. He wore jeans, sandals and a plaid, button-down shirt, with one of his hands wrapped in a bandage.
Duling’s public defender kept his hand on Duling’s shoulder while Crocker read the charges.
Crocker scheduled the probable cause hearing for Tuesday, May 6, at 9 a.m. If probable cause is found, the case will be transferred to Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua.
After the hearing, Strelzin told reporters the couple’s two-year-old and five-year-old children were “present” during the altercation that led up to the stabbing in the kitchen area. He didn’t specify whether the children saw what happened.
Strelzin said that the children, after spending some time with neighbors, are in the custody of relatives and will receive counseling.
Two older children live at the home but weren’t there at the time of the incident, he said.
Officials were called to the home Friday when Duling went to a neighbor’s house with the children. The neighbor called 911 because of the injury to Duling’s hand. They later found McGrade, who was already dead, Strelzin said.
NHSP Capt. Russell Conte said the state police’s major crime unit and troopers from Troop B in Milford spent an “arduous” weekend at the isolated home at 32 Duling Lane, making sure they found all the evidence they could.
Strelzin said the investigation, including the couple’s history, will likely continue over a span of weeks and months.
McGrade and Duling worked as student database administrators for the Lowell, Mass., school system, and Duling has been placed on paid leave, according to the Lowell Sun.