Prosecutors rolling the dice on Pinette, Tatum

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I'm not going to equivocate on the relative culpability of the three creeps who killed Aaron Wilkinson next to his skateboard ramp in the driveway of his Madbury, N.H., home 15 months ago.

They all share some blame.

But what I don't get is why the prosecution thinks they can burn the "ringleader" brand on Tristan Woluksy, whom they call "the man with the plan."

Do they think jurors will believe that Wolusky had among his plan particulars that the three would fall upon the slender Wilkinson and fatally stab him 22 times in the head, neck and back?

Do they think jurors will believe that once Wilkinson claimed he had no drugs or money, Wolusky said to Zachary "D.J." Pinette and Michael Tatum, "OK, boys, he says he got no drugs, so we've got to kill him."?

Wolusky, 19, of Rochester, Pinette, 19, of Springvale, Maine, and Michael Tatum, 22, of Barrington are accused of killing the 18-year-old Wilkinson around 1:30 a.m. on June 21, 2014, during a robbery gone awry, then dumping his body along Long Swamp Road in Lebanon.

With no fingerprints except for Pinette's on any of the knives or machete that killed Wilkinson, the quality of testimony of Pinette and Tatum against Wolusky looms as the pivotal fulcrum of this case.

To prove Wolusky was the ringleader they have to prove that he was the ringleader of the murder, not just the robbery.

While murders committed during robberies are often free from the premeditation factor, it would seem that a jury would have to believe that Wolusky was more deliberate in the intent to kill Wilkinson than either Pinette or Tatum. Otherwise, why would you let the two "rats," as they have been called by defense attorneys, to escape with second-degree murder but not Wolusky.

So prosecutors have to show that Pinette and Tatum were somehow manipulated or intimidated or directed by Wolusky to take a life and likely wouldn't have if Wolusky were out of the picture.

So it's going to come down to Pinette's and Tatum's testimony, which they have guaranteed the state in exchange for the chance at parole somewhere down the line.

If one of them fails to convincingly tell the tale, or if one of them does not corroborate the other's testimony, all bets are off.

There will likely be at least one juror who is unwilling to let Wolusky take the life with no parole rap for what all three appear to have done as one.

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