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Friend of accused killer says he was acting in self-defense

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 14. 2018 8:52AM


MANCHESTER — Accused killer Paul Dimick was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed a man a week ago at a Manchester trap house — slang for an apartment frequented by drug users, according to a friend who showed on his behalf for a court arraignment.

The friend, who asked to be identified as Tyler P., said Dimick, 26, had been looking for Justin Lee, 32, and ran into him at 357 Hanover St. on Sept. 7. When Lee turned toward Dimick with gun in hand, Dimick shot him, Tyler P. said.

“He’s not the type of man to just go there and shoot somebody. It was not premeditated. He was just defending himself,” he said. Tyler P. is the second person to say Dimick was defending himself. Earlier this week, a relative told the New Hampshire Union Leader that Dimick was acting in self-defense, but she claimed Lee had fired at Dimick.

The homicide prosecutor on the case wouldn’t address the self-defense claim.

“That’s up to the defense to raise the issue (of self-defense),” said Jeffery Strelzin, an associate attorney general and director of the Attorney General’s Division of Public Protection.

New Hampshire has a stand-your-ground law which allows someone to defend themselves without first retreating to safety.

Tyler P. spoke outside a courtroom at Hillsborough County Superior Court, where Dimick was expected to appear following his capture on Wednesday after five days on the lam. But lawyers said Dimick waived arraignment and decided not to ask for bail at this point, so he never went before a judge.

During the initial days of the manhunt, authorities said they had obtained a warrant against Dimick for the murder of Lee. The term murder implies premeditation.

But upon his arrest, he was charged with reckless second-degree murder, a charge that implies no forethought.

“It was not just reckless. There’s another layer to that; it’s an extreme indifference to human life,” Strelzin said.

Dimick is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Between 2009 and 2018, he has been charged with 24 crimes. It’s unclear how many resulted in guilty verdicts, but he was sentenced to two to four years in state prison for the 2012 stabbing of his cousin in a fight over a woman.

Tyler P. said Dimick and Lee had been friends but had a falling out after Lee stole drugs, a cell phone and other material from Dimick. Tyler P. said they were also members of rival gangs; Dimick was a Gangsters Disciple; Lee was a Blood.

Manchester police did not respond to an email Thursday afternoon asking about gangs in the city.

Strelzin said he cannot discuss whether Lee has a criminal record. Information that the police have uncovered so far is sealed away in a court affidavit, and Strelzin said the paperwork would not likely be unsealed until prosecutors bring the case to a grand jury.

Strelzin said he now has 90 days to do so.

Strelzin said Manchester police and his office are continuing the investigation, and witnesses have been willing to speak to authorities.

He said the investigation will also delve into where Dimick spent the five days while on the run. He was captured outside an apartment building at 315 E. High St., less than a half-mile from the Hanover Street address where he allegedly killed Lee.

Strelzin said New Hampshire has no law against harboring a fugitive, but charges such as falsifying evidence or obstruction of justice might come into play.

“There are different types of charges that could be brought,” he said.

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