Attempted murder case may move forward without victimBy JAMES A. KIMBLE
Union Leader Correspondent
June 09. 2015 8:27PM
BRENTWOOD — Prosecutors may be forced to move forward with an attempted murder case in Salem without the testimony of the victim.
County prosecutors say they have not been able to locate the woman that Walton Valentin, 32, allegedly strangled at a Salem motel on Nov. 9, 2013.
Valentin faces charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, first- and second-degree assault, criminal threatening, theft by unauthorized taking and violation of a protective order.
Judge N. William Delker may have to decide whether prosecutors can move forward with the trial by using statements the woman made to medical personnel about being “choked out” by Valentin.
“The victim told a paramedic from Salem Rescue that she was ‘choked out and hit in the head several times with a gun,’” Assistant County Attorney Jennifer Haggar said in court papers. “She further told a nurse at Parkland Medical Center that she was ‘pistol whipped and choked out, and that she ‘blacked out’ for ‘minutes.’”
Defense lawyers are objecting the use of the out-of-court statements.
Valentin’s trial date was recently rescheduled by a judge to July 27, so prosecutors have more time to issue out-of-state subpoenas to three witnesses that have not been located. Delker said in court papers he will decide the issue when Valentin goes to trial on July 27.
Valentin is already serving a four- to five-year prison term in connection with the case.
An Essex County (Mass.) jury convicted him last year of aggravated assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon and 16 other charges. Valentin, of Methuen, Mass., could face up to life in prison if he is convicted of attempted murder.
He was the target of an intensive manhunt between New Hampshire and Massachusetts that began Nov. 9, 2013, after he jumped into a woman’s car in Lawrence, Mass., armed with a handgun. The woman, his ex-girlfriend, told police that Valentin threatened to kill her and her family if she did not comply with his demands, according to prosecutors.
Valentin allegedly pointed the gun at the woman’s stomach. She told police that Valentin pulled the trigger once, but the gun jammed while the two were in Salem. Valentin allegedly began choking the woman and struck her in the face and head with the handgun, according to prosecutors.
Salem police were called to the Park View Inn on Route 28 shortly after 9 p.m., where they found the woman injured from several lacerations to her head and face.
Valentin had already fled the area by stealing the woman’s Dodge Caravan, according to police. He was eventually apprehended at a deli in New York City last Nov. 14.