Attempted murder charge dropped after victim changes storyBy MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
May 21. 2018 9:37PM
MANCHESTER — A man facing an attempted murder charge walked free out of Hillsborough County Superior Court last week, after the victim in the crime changed his story and said Wade Gop did not do it, the county’s top prosecutor said.
Gop, 23, had been charged with attempted first-degree murder and two other charges after a 17-year-old was shot in the face near a center city park last summer. He pleaded guilty to witness tampering and received a suspended sentence.
Hillsborough County Attorney Dennis Hogan said prosecutors had to drop the charge after the victim — identified in court records as M.K. — wrote a letter saying that he knows Gop, and Gop was not the man who shot him.
“He changed his mind, or changed his story,” Hogan said. He said there is no way for authorities to tell if Gop or someone else convinced the victim to do so. But if someone did get to him, that would be a crime — witness tampering — that authorities could bring charges against, Hogan said.
The shooting took place overnight on Aug. 26 at Stanton Park, which is also called Adventure Park or Sheridan-Emmett Park. The park is across Beech Street from Beech Street School and includes basketball courts, athletic fields, a playground, lawns and walkways.
The shooting prompted a citywide search for Gop, after a yellow car believed to be involved was discovered in the West Side, and police recovered blood and ballistic evidence. Within two weeks, the Special Enforcement Team and Gang Prevention Unit found Gop and arrested him on the attempted murder charge.
Gop faced a sentence of life in prison if convicted. Hogan said Gop is from the west African country of Ghana.
Gop spent 248 days in jail awaiting trial, according to Amy Manchester, the assistant county attorney who handled the case. She dropped the three charges he was initially charged with, and Gop pleaded guilty to a felony charge of tampering with witness and informants. According to the charge, Gop threw and .45-caliber pistol at Cody Wright and told him “clean this, get rid of it.”
“That’s what we could get. That’s the best we could do under the circumstances,” Manchester said.