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Settlement likely for Nashua teen charged with attempted murder

Union Leader Correspondent

October 22. 2017 10:34PM
A police officer searches a sidewalk on Ash Street in Nashua near the scene of a shooting on Nov. 16, 2016. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER FILE)

NASHUA — Attorneys are on the verge of a settlement for an 18-year-old man facing an attempted murder charge for allegedly shooting a person during a drug transaction last year.

Christian Dominguez, who was 17 at the time of the shooting on Nov. 16, 2016, was set to face trial next month. However, according to court documents, jury selection has been continued and a settlement conference has been planned for Dec. 1.

“The parties are attempting to reach a negotiated disposition in this matter. Further, defense counsel would submit that the parties are fairly close to doing so,” Attorney Jeffrey Odland writes in court records on file at Hillsborough County Superior Court. “Both parties have offered terms of stand committed state prison. However, at present, the parties have not been able to reach a full agreement.”

Dominguez has been indicted on a charge of attempted murder for the incident, as well as felony charges of first-degree assault, reckless conduct and falsifying physical evidence.

He is accused of shooting Justin Cole, 23, during a drug transaction in the area of Ash and Lake streets last November. According to court documents, Dominguez “purposely attempted to cause the death of (Cole) by shooting him with a firearm,” and “constituted a substantial step toward the commission of the crime of murder.”

He is also accused of causing bodily injury to Cole and placing others in danger by firing a gun at a vehicle occupied by Cole and his girlfriend, Britany Vitale, 22.

If a settlement is not reached, Dominguez has filed a notice of self-defense claiming that any force he used on Cole was for the purpose of defending himself against what he believed to be the imminent use of unlawful, deadly force against him by Cole, according to court records.

Catherine Devine, assistant county attorney, is objecting to Dominguez’s notice of self-defense.

“There is no evidence in discovery which would support defendant’s claim. After making a drug deal, the defendant turned away from the victim and then returned, drew his firearm and shot the victim at point blank range,” wrote Devine, arguing Dominguez has failed to state any grounds that would support his claim of self defense.

Meanwhile, Dominguez has filed motions to suppress statements he made to authorities and to suppress physical evidence.

After a city police officer told Dominguez that she hoped no one died from the incident, Dominguez said, “no one got shot,” according to court records, adding he also told police that the only thing he was carrying with him was shell casings.

His defense team is attempting to have those statements suppressed if the case goes to trial.

If convicted, Dominguez faces a possible sentence of up to life in prison for the attempted murder charge. He could also face up to 15 years in prison for the first-degree assault charge and up to seven years in prison for each of the reckless conduct and falsifying physical evidence charges, if convicted.

Courts Crime Nashua

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