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Judge mulls whether to consolidate trials in Hanover shooting

  • Hector Correa attends by videoconference from Grafton County jail a Grafton Superior Court hearing Thursday morning on whether to consolidate his trial stemming from a drive-by shooting in Hanover with that of fellow defendant Gage Young.

  • Lebanon resident Gage Young, who is free on bail, attends by videoconference a Grafton Superior Court hearing on Thursday morning on whether to consolidate his trial stemming from a drive-by shooting in Hanover with that of fellow defendant Hector Correa.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/15/2021 5:45:02 PM
Modified: 10/15/2021 5:45:12 PM

NORTH HAVERHILL — A Grafton County prosecutor said in court Thursday that the two men charged in a 2018 drive-by shooting in Hanover should be tried together, asserting that the cases, including charges stemming from their arrest in Lebanon later that night, are related and that one trial would be more efficient.

But attorneys for the two defendants took somewhat different stances on whether to consolidate their upcoming trials.

Both Gage Young, 25, and Hector Correa, 20, have pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree assault with a firearm, second-degree assault with a firearm and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon in the Nov. 2, 2018, shooting of Thomas Elliott, a Providence College student who was walking with friends on School Street while visiting a friend at Dartmouth College. Elliott was struck in the back but recovered.

Assistant Grafton County Attorney Mariana Pastore outlined how the two cases are connected, saying evidence at trial would show Correa texted Young that evening to say he wanted to get drunk because a cousin had been shot; that Young then bought alcohol while video showed Correa waiting in the car and brandishing a firearm; that video showed Young’s sedan in downtown Hanover around the time of the shooting; and that shortly after Elliott was shot, Correa walked up to a police officer and asked, “What happened to him?”

She also asserted that evidence would show that Correa, who was driving, sped down Route 10 in an attempt to flee police about 90 minutes later in Lebanon, and that Young, who prosecutors say had changed clothes after the shooting, threw a firearm from the car as they were about to be arrested.

“The facts of this case demonstrate that Mr. Young’s and Mr. Correa’s charges are related, and joinder is appropriate,” Pastore said. She said the trial is expected to involve 61 witnesses, including expert testimony from eight people, and is expected to take 10 days.

“The interests of efficiency favor consolidation,” she told Judge Lawrence MacLeod Jr. during the hearing, which was conducted with videoconferencing software.

Keene, N.H.-based attorney Richard Guerriero Jr., who is defending Young, said his main objection to consolidating the two cases was the timing, now that prosecutors have agreed not to try to introduce a statement by Correa that implicated Young as the gunman. Young, who is free on bail, is now on the docket for a trial in February, but Correa’s trial is tentatively scheduled for next month.

Guerriero said he has another jury trial in federal court scheduled for November and that there are more than 20 motions about evidence in the Hanover case that still need to be resolved.

“I just don’t think it’s realistic that we are all going to put everything aside” in time for a November trial, Guerriero said.

Although Correa had initially told police that Young was the shooter, according to court documents, Young’s attorney has said Correa has given inconsistent statements in several interviews. Prosecutors also have agreed not to introduce the statement at a consolidated trial because of a constitutional issue: If Correa declined to testify in a joint trial to avoid incriminating himself, Young’s defense would not be able to cross-examine him on the assertion.

Correa was 17 at the time of the Hanover shooting but is being tried as an adult. He is currently serving a six-year sentence out of Connecticut after being convicted of two felonies — attempt to commit assault in the first degree via discharge of a firearm and conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree via discharge of a firearm — in a separate 2019 incident in Bridgeport, Conn.

He was brought back to New Hampshire earlier this year on an “interstate agreement on detainer,” which requires that he be prosecuted within 180 days, which would expire before a February trial. Correa’s attorney, Newport-based Bruce Jasper, said he would speak to his client this week to see whether Correa, who is being held at the Grafton County jail, would waive the IAD time requirement.

Jasper said he did not want to consolidate Correa’s case with Young’s and also said his client should be tried separately on the Lebanon charges, which involve a separate reckless conduct with a deadly weapon charge against Correa for allegedly trying to speed away from police in West Lebanon at 80 mph.

“These cases, the incident in Hanover and the incident in Lebanon, were about an hour and a half time difference and roughly 3 miles apart. They don’t relate,” Jasper asserted.

But Pastore, the prosecutor, said the cases are tied together, saying, “I will say speeding in Lebanon goes to consciousness of guilt as to the Hanover charges.”

To that, Jasper said, “There can be a number of different reasons why somebody is traveling at a particular rate of speed to get away from police … one of those could be simply somebody doesn’t have a license.”

MacLeod, the judge, said he will take the matters under advisement.

John Gregg can be reached at 603-727-3217 or jgregg@vnews.com.




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