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Witness refuses to testify, delays Windham kidnapping trial


BRENTWOOD - A Massachusetts man has indicated he would rather go to jail for defying a judge's order than testify at the trial of Luis Carvalho, who is charged with kidnapping a 20-year-old Windham woman from her home last year.

Matthew Nugent of Billerica, Mass., is due to appear today before Judge Marguerite Wageling to be questioned about whether he will comply with an immunity agreement.

Carvalho, of Taunton, Mass. faces six charges in Rockingham County Superior Court, including kidnapping and burglary in an April 15, 2012, home invasion.

Prosecutors say three men carried out the nighttime attack and kidnapping for Samantha Gervais of Windham, but only Carvalho has been caught so far. Wageling concluded after a hearing on Monday that Nugent had no legal justification to invoke his Fifth Amendment right while being asked under oath about his knowledge of the kidnapping. Nugent testified that he knew Carvalho, but was not in Windham on the night of the home invasion.

Don Blaszka, Nugent's lawyer, said that if his client testified truthfully at trial then he could face criminal charges in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Blaszka suggested his client's firearms were used during the home invasion, and that Nugent may have made false statements to police in Massachusetts about the weapons being stolen.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said that her office tried to interview Nugent on Monday after Wageling's decision about Nugent's potential testimony. Blaszka told prosecutors after the hearing that Nugent "was going to refuse to testify and was willing to go to jail rather than answer questions on the stand," Conway said.

Wageling could hold Nugent in contempt of court if he refuses to testify and order him to be held at the county jail until he complies with her order.

Wageling told prosecutors she is looking forward to having Nugent back in her courtroom, where he is expected to face more questioning on the witness stand before "I assumed he would follow the law, and I am assuming he will," she said.

jkimble@newstote.com


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