Matthew Millar Charged In Jason Rothe Death

matthew millar correctional officer

Matthew Millar is a former correctional officer in New Hampshire who has been charged with the murder of Jason Rothe

According to police reports Jason Rothe was being kept at a secure mental health prison in New Hampshire when he was restrained by Matthew Millar. Millar would allegedly kneel on the neck of Jason Rothe which would cause his death

An autopsy would reveal that Jason Rothe died from compressional and positional asphyxia. At the time of his death Jason was handcuffed

Matthew Millar has now been charged with second degree murder

Matthew Millar News

A former corrections officer was charged Thursday with second-degree murder in the death of a patient at New Hampshire’s prison psychiatric unit nine months ago.

Matthew Millar, 39, of Boscawen, is accused of kneeling on Jason Rothe’s torso and neck for several minutes on April 29 while Rothe was face-down and handcuffed in the secure psychiatric unit at the state prison in Concord. The unit treats inmates in need of acute psychiatric care, those found not guilty by reason of insanity and those — like Rothe — who haven’t committed crimes but are deemed too dangerous to remain at the state psychiatric hospital.

According to court documents, Rothe, 50, was committed to New Hampshire Hospital in 2019 because of mental illness and transferred to the prison unit in 2022 out of concern he posed a risk to himself or others. Shortly after his death, investigators said Rothe died after a physical altercation with several corrections officers and that an autopsy was inconclusive. On Thursday, the attorney general’s office said Rothe’s cause of death was combined compressional and positional asphyxia

Millar made an initial appearance Thursday in court, where his attorney said he intends to plead not guilty. He was ordered held without bail pending a hearing Feb. 14.

Prosecutors allege that Millar acted recklessly in causing Rothe’s death after he refused to leave a “day room” in the psychiatric unit. While officers initially offered Rothe snacks and tried to talk him into leaving, they eventually decided to forcibly remove him.

In court documents, investigators said all of those involved had been trained on the use of force and interacting with inmates and patients suffering from mental illness, including specialized training about asphyxia. But the restraint Millar used is expressly contrary to that training, investigators said.

Six officers were involved in the altercation, but the attorney general’s office said it does not plan to bring further charges. Millar’s employment ended Dec. 13, the Department of Corrections said Thursday. The others had returned to work after initially being placed on leave, but they are on leave again pending another internal review, the department said.

The housing of civilly committed psychiatric patients at the prison has long sparked protest. The state has faced multiple lawsuits, and lawmakers in recent years have allocated money to build a stand-alone forensic psychiatric hospital on the grounds of the state hospital to move such patients out of the prison.

Matthew Millar Other News

A former New Hampshire corrections officer is facing a murder charge in connection with the death of a patient in the secure psychiatric unit at the state prison.

Former corrections officer Matthew Millar, 39, of Boscawen, is accused of pressing his knee to the patient’s upper back and lower neck area, leading to his death. Millar is charged with second-degree murder.

According to court records, six corrections officers were trying to restrain Jason Rothe, 50, on April 29. Witnesses told investigators that Millar put his weight on Rothe’s upper back and neck and kept it there for several minutes while the patient was handcuffed.

Officials with the attorney general’s office said that tactic goes against state policy.

“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 to News 9.

Matthew Millar has not worked for the Department of Corrections since Dec. 13. He is being held without bail.

In a statement, Department of Corrections commissioner Helen Hanks said in part, “I personally extend my sympathies to the family and loved ones of Mr. Rothe. 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.”

The Department of Corrections said the other officers involved in Rothe’s death have been placed back on leave as another administrative review is conducted.

According to court records, Rothe had been committed to New Hampshire Hospital in 2019 but was transferred to the prison’s psychiatric facility in 2022 over concerns he posed a danger to himself and others.

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