A shock to Hampton as the facts of a murder unfold

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Seacoast Sunday , September 4, 1988

Nearly three months after Robert Cushing, 63, was shot and killed at his front door in Hampton. a local police officer admitted to being the murderer.

Robert McLaughlin, 47, an 18-year veteran of the Hampton Police Force, turned himself in to State Police last Friday, ending a three-month investigation and shocking the community.

Reports on the relationship between the two men and the motive that led to the June 1 murder have come out in bits and pieces in the week since McLaughlin’s confession.

The two men had apparently been in an altercation during a 1975 traffic accident outside Cushing’s house on Winnacunnet Road in which McLaughlin arrested Cushing for interfering in the accident investigation. Observers say Cushing refused to put out a cigarette when asked by McLaughlin. Later that year, Cushing apparently signed a petition asking to get McLaughlin off the police force on the grounds of police brutality against a neighbor of Cushings.

The two men were neighbors, but Robert Cushing, Jr., said he was unaware of McLaughlin or any bad blood between McLaughlin and his father until the officer confessed to the murder.

Later in the week it was reported that McLaughlin had accidentally killed a friend when he was 15 when he was playing around with a gun. A judge dropped the charge for lack of criminal intent. McLaughlin was formerly named Robert Randall, but apparently changed his name after this incident.

McLaughlin is being held in Rockingham County Jail and is scheduled for a probable cause hearing Oct. 11 in Hampton District Court.

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