Prosecutors seek to consolidate charges against Gage Young
Prosecutors trying the case against Gage Young, who was indicted in the non-fatal shooting of visiting Providence College student Thomas Elliot in Hanover last fall, are attempting to consolidate charges against the Lebanon resident in order to hold only one trial concerning the Nov. 2, 2018 incident. They are also attempting to add a new charge of falsifying evidence. Young has replaced his previous counsel with Richard Guerriero, who filed a motion to move the trials to July.
In the case filed by the Hanover police department, Young is charged with six offenses, including first and second-degree assault and reckless conduct. Two charges from that case were dismissed in February, according to the Valley News. Felony indictments from the Lebanon police department investigation include reckless conduct and falsifying physical evidence. In March, Young was also charged with an additional felony count of falsifying physical evidence by attempting to remove or conceal his clothing or shoes after firing his weapon . Grafton County attorney Martha Ann Hornick said the county hopes to include the new charge in Young’s upcoming trial.
Authorities have accused Young of firing randomly into a group of students on the evening of Nov. 2, 2018 from a vehicle near School Street in Hanover. Young and a minor, Hector Correa then allegedly fled towards West Lebanon in the vehicle. Young is accused of clearing and disposing the weapon used in the assault and engaging Lebanon police in a brief chase on Oak Ridge Drive. Young has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges and maintains that Correa, also a Lebanon resident and not charged in connection with the case, was instead the shooter, according to Young’s former attorney Simon Mayo.
In a Feb. 4 motion written by assistant Grafton County attorney Mariana Pastore, the state is seeking to merge charges filed separately with the Lebanon and Hanover police departments. Consolidating the two cases would mean the charges brought against Young could be presented in one trial.
New Hampshire law allows for a joinder of two cases if the indictments in each are suitably related, according to Norwich criminal defense attorney George Ostler ’77. He said the court would be evaluating three chief factors: the feasibility of using the same witnesses for all the indictments, the time frame between the incidents of the separate cases and the relatedness of the cases’ subject matter.
Hornick said consolidating the two cases was warranted given the circumstances of the incident.
“When you have a case like this where it’s the same evening, same course of events and all that other language that you see in that motion that we filed, it makes sense based on the events to have it all tried at the same time,” Hornick said.
Young’s former attorneys countered the motion, arguing that their client’s due process rights would be violated by treating the two cases as one. They also argued that cases had previously been investigated separately by the two police departments and should be kept apart to ensure a fair and speedy trial for their client, according to Mayo.
“Our position was that there were two separate incidents and they should be tried as separate incidents,” Mayo said.
Ostler explained that the possibility of merging the two cases would ultimately be decided by the judge presiding in the case.
“The court weighs whether having all the charges in one trial would be somehow unfair to the defendant,” Ostler said.
He added that joinders are likelier to occur the more related the charges are in terms of witnesses, subject matter and time.
A decision on the state’s motion was postponed on March 7 when a conflict of interest between the defense team and their client was revealed by the prosecutors “five minutes” before the scheduled hearing, according to Mayo. Mayo and Wynes have since resigned as Young’s attorneys. Guerriero, Young’s new counsel, said he is reviewing the case at the time and would decide whether to continue to oppose the county’s motion to join the cases soon.
“It may very well be that we maintain that position, but I’m just not going to comment on it right now,” he said. “I don’t think it would be a wise thing to do until I’ve read everything.”
Guerriero said dates for upcoming pretrial hearings and trials are now uncertain, but that his client has signed a waiver of speedy trial to allow the case to be tried later in the year. He said he has filed a motion to have the trials moved to July so he could have more time to review the case.