Man with ties to Winchester dies after fight in N.H. involving samurai sword

Eric Tsetsi

Police have charged a New Hampshire man in the death of a former Winchester resident who died from a sword wound to the abdomen.

“It’s just a sad, sad thing that has happened,” said Mary Solberg of Winchester, whose son William Solberg Jr. died Sunday, April 6. “He was a very kind, gentle person. It’s just devastating.”

Police said Solberg was stabbed with a samurai sword during a domestic dispute in Salem, N.H. The 2-foot-long sword had a 16-inch blade on it, according to Salem Police Sgt. Steve Malisos, who testified at a probable cause hearing this week.

According to New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan, police were called to 87 Lake Shore Road in Salem, N.H., at approximately 5:05 p.m. on April 6.

Solberg, a resident of Pelham, N.H., apparently got into a confrontation with Scott Hanks, 49, of Salem, N.H., and was stabbed during the ensuing fight, police said. He was transported to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, where he was pronounced dead.

According to Malisos’s testimony and Ayotte’s office, the two men were apparently dating the same woman. Solberg traveled to Hanks’ residence on Canobie Lake, where he expected to find his girlfriend, allegedly resulting in an ultimately fatal altercation.

Exact details regarding the nature of the altercation have not been released.

Police said Hanks punctured one of Solberg’s car tires before stabbing him. He then threw the sword into the lake where police eventually found it after an underwater search.

Hanks was arrested in connection to the incident and charged with first-degree assault and negligent homicide. He is being held on $100,000 cash bail or corporate surety, which the state has asked to be changed to $100,000 cash bail, no corporate surety.

Why Hanks, a mechanical engineer, had the sword is unknown at this time.

William Solberg Jr. grew up in Cambridge, and moved to Winchester with his family in the mid-1980’s, according to his mother.

The Solberg’s own M. Solberg Enterprises Corp. of Winchester, a concrete cutting business.

“We came into Winchester probably 20 years ago,” said Mary Solberg.

The family first moved in to a home on River Street, and now lives on Cross Street.

Solberg maintained a close relationship with his family, after moving to Pelham several years ago, and continued to work for the family business. He was very close with his nieces and nephews, according to his mother.

“We’re just very lucky to be such a good close family,” she said.

Solberg was the youngest of three siblings. According to Mary, more than 400 people attended his funeral services.

Eric Tsetsi can be reached at 781-674-7731 or