Lebanon man accused in shooting near Dartmouth seeks two trials

  • Gage Young.

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, March 14, 2019

NORTH HAVERHILL — Officials prosecuting a 22-year-old New Hampshire man accused of shooting a teenager in November near Dartmouth College and fleeing to Lebanon are seeking to merge the charges the man faces in Hanover and Lebanon and take them to trial together.

But Lebanon resident Gage Young, through his now-former attorneys Simon Mayo and Emily Wynes, said doing so would violate his due process rights and impact his right to a fair trial.

The state seeks to consolidate the two cases because the alleged crimes happened during a “single criminal episode” and the charges are “logically and factually connected,” according to its Feb. 4 motion to consolidate written by Assistant Grafton County Attorney Mariana Pastore.

Young is accused of randomly firing a single shot from a vehicle on Nov. 2 and striking and wounding Providence College student Thomas Elliot, who was walking with friends on School Street. Young and 17-year-old Hector Correa, who was allegedly driving at the time, took off and drove to West Lebanon, where Young allegedly “cleared” the gun by firing off a round into the air near Allard’s Furniture.

Shortly after, Lebanon police took Young and Correa into custody on Oak Ridge Drive in West Lebanon following a brief car chase. Police located Young in the passenger’s seat and found a handgun on the ground not far from the passenger’s window, according to the state’s motion.

Young maintains his innocence and disputes that he was the shooter, according to the defense’s Feb. 13 response to the state’s motion to consolidate. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases and remains held on bail.

In the Hanover case, Young is charged with first- and second-degree assault with a firearm and reckless conduct, all counts that tie him to firing the gun near the college. Two other charges he faced in the Hanover case were dismissed last month.

In the Lebanon case, Young faces reckless conduct for allegedly clearing the gun near Allard’s, falsifying physical evidence for allegedly tossing the gun out of the window in an attempt to impede the investigation and allegedly providing alcohol to Correa.

In making her case for why the charges should be merged, Pastore said, “The defendant committed the Hanover and Lebanon charged acts within approximately an hour and 45 minutes of each other, and committed those acts approximately three miles apart. … Furthermore, the defendant’s Lebanon charges arise from his attempts to avoid detection and destroy evidence of the Hanover charges.”

Pastore added: “The Lebanon crimes starkly undercut the defendant’s defense of: ‘it wasn’t me.’ ”

The defense attorneys, in their motion, said the cases should be tried separately because they have been treated like separate cases from the beginning by Hanover and Lebanon police and by the state.

Because they were treated like separate cases by police, that impacted how they were investigated, the attorneys wrote.

“Joinder would not be in the interests of justice given how the state has treated these cases to date,” they wrote.

The attorneys assert there was a “clear break” between the Hanover incident and Lebanon incident and, therefore, the cases can’t by law be joined. The two sets of charges are “discrete acts, easily separated by time, place, persons involved, elements and evidence,” they wrote.

“Contrary to the state’s assertion, which is unsupported by law, the offenses were not part of a single episode, even if they occurred on a single day,” the defense attorneys wrote.

In addition, several pieces of evidence that would be presented for the Hanover case at trial wouldn’t need to be presented for the Lebanon case, and in some instances, would be inadmissible, further complicating merging the cases, they assert.

The Lebanon case is ready for trial now, while the Hanover case needs more time. Waiting to take the Lebanon case to trial would violate his right to a speedy trial, they said.

The state’s motion to consolidate and the defense’s objection was slated for a hearing in early March, but was continued. It hasn’t yet been rescheduled.

Shortly after that hearing, on March 7, Mayo and Wynes withdrew as Young’s attorney, saying they became aware of a conflict “five minutes” before the hearing on the consolidation matter.

Young doesn’t yet have a new attorney, according to his case file.

There are several other pending motions in the case. He has a final pretrial hearing scheduled for March 27.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.