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Judge rules shooting near Dartmouth College, police chase cases can be merged

  • Gage Young, of Lebanon, appeared with Public Defender Jamie Brooks, right, in Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., to plead not guilty to charges including second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and falsifying physical evidence Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. Gage is accused of shooting of an 18-year-old Providence College student in Hanover, N.H., Friday night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/26/2019 10:30:05 PM
Modified: 6/26/2019 10:30:00 PM

NORTH HAVERHILL — A Superior Court judge has granted the prosecution’s request to merge a 23-year-old Lebanon man’s two cases that stem from a shooting near Dartmouth College and subsequent police chase into West Lebanon in November.

Gage Young’s defense attorneys had objected to tying the incidents together, saying trying the Hanover case and the Lebanon case as one would violate Young’s due process rights and impact his right to a fair and timely trial, among other things.

But Grafton County Superior Court Judge Lawrence A. MacLeod Jr. didn’t buy those arguments, according to an eight-page ruling filed on June 11.

“The court rules that joinder in this case is necessary and appropriate,” MacLeod wrote.

MacLeod agreed with the state’s assertion that the two cases happened during “a single criminal episode” and should be tried together.

Young is accused of randomly firing a gun from a vehicle on Nov. 2 and striking and wounding Providence College student Thomas Elliot, who was walking with friends on School Street in Hanover. Young and 17-year-old Hector Correa, who allegedly was driving at the time, took off and drove to West Lebanon, where Young allegedly fired the gun into the air before a brief police chase ensued and ended on Oak Ridge Drive.

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 bullet the struck Elliott near the Dartmouth campus. Two other charges he faced in the Hanover case have been dismissed.

In the Lebanon case, Young faces reckless conduct, falsifying physical evidence and prohibited alcohol sales, allegedly to Correa.

Young, who remains incarcerated at the Grafton County Jail pending trial or another resolution to his case, has pleaded not guilty and maintains his innocence. Young now is represented by attorney Richard Guerriero, who declined to comment on the case on Wednesday.

Young’s case is slated for a settlement conference on July 9, which is an alternative path to try to resolve criminal cases in New Hampshire. The prosecution and defense will continue negotiations of the case confidentially in front of a different judge.

The party’s request for the conference, filed in court on May 31, indicates that the state, through Assistant Grafton County Mariana Pastore, has made an offer to resolve the case, and that Young hasn’t made a counter offer. The parties have “exhausted avenues of discussions” and the hearing is needed to facilitate negotiations and evaluate legal issues, the document states.

Settlement conferences aren’t used all that often in the state. Out of thousands of court cases annually, superior courts in New Hampshire scheduled just 200 felony settlement conferences in 2018, court spokeswoman Carole Alfano said previously.

The case has several motions pending, although it is unclear whether some of those have been ruled on as some documents in the case are sealed, according to the case summary sheet.

The most recent motion filed in the case came from the state on June 12. The prosecution seeks to preclude the introduction of statements Young has made during phone calls from jail.

The state said Young’s statements should be considered hearsay, and the defense should not be allowed to reference them at trial. The motion, however, doesn’t explicitly outline what Young allegedly said in those calls.

But the defense on Monday responded to the state’s motion, which shed light on the statements, saying he “repeatedly asserts his innocence.”

Guerriero asked the judge to delay ruling on the motion because it is a premature filing at this stage in the discovery process, he wrote.

In that motion, Guerriero asserts that Correa, who is only identified by his initials in court documents, has “repeatedly contradicted himself and will only testify at Young’s trial in return for a plea bargain and immunity.”

Young also has a final pretrial hearing scheduled for Sept. 25.

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

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