By Anna Berry
It was a Monday afternoon in Concord and Christopher Ruggles was sitting in a familiar place — in front of Judge John Kissinger at the Merrimack County courthouse. But after more than a year of regular appearances in court, this visit was cause for celebration.
Once one of Concord’s most-wanted men, Ruggles was graduating from the Merrimack County Drug Court — and he was the first to cross the finish line.
Wearing a collared sweater and a close-cropped beard, Ruggles looked younger and healthier than in the mugshots posted in news reports over the years.
Nearly 100 people had crowded into the courthouse for the January 28 ceremony, a mix of current participants, healthcare workers, police officers, and public officials in suits and ties.
“Every cop in the room had literally arrested me at one point or another,” Ruggles, 46, said later.
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This story was produced by The Granite State News Collaborative as part of its Granite Solutions reporting project. For more stories, follow us on Twitter @Newsgranite and like us on Facebook @collaborativenh.