Female officer testifies man facing attempted murder 'jackhammer punched' her outside Glow BarBy MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
September 19. 2018 3:19PM
MANCHESTER — A Manchester policewoman could have died during a melee when a bar patron held her to the ground and “jackhammer punched” the side of her head, according to a Hillsborough county prosecutor who obtained an attempted murder charge against the patron.
The policewoman — Canada Stewart — suffered a concussion and whiplash, and was out of work for 10 days, according to her testimony during a recent bail hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court North.
The hearing focused on a May 11 melee that took place outside Glow Bar, the Hanover Street bar that is challenging efforts by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission to restrict its hours following several conflicts involving patrons.
Glow Bar was expected to appear before the Liquor Commission today to argue against the restrictions and a license suspension. But on Monday, the Commission postponed the hearing at the request of Glow Bar’s lawyer.
Last month, Stewart testified about how a police call that started with a noise complaint escalated into taunts at police, then fights among patrons, then alleged assaults as police attempted to quell the situation.
Chasrick Soren Heredia, 24, of 354 Kennard Road, faces an attempted second-degree murder charge, as well as charges of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, riot and resisting arrest.
“Chasrick reached up and grabbed my back, pulled my head down to the pavement and began punching my head constantly,” Stewart said during an Aug. 24 hearing on bail for Heredia. “I repeatedly said ‘Let go,let go.’ I wasn’t able to move in any direction.”
A police officer eventually freed her, but she suffered another blow when she confronted Heredia as he was trying to flee. He allegedly punched her in the face as she tried to detain him.
“I began feeling fuzzy at that point,” Stewart testified.
Manchester police say Stewart, who joined the department two years ago, works the midnight shift.
The prosecutor in the case, Donald Topham, said Stewart was “jackhammer punched,” and praised Manchester police for their restraint. In years past, Heredia would have been talking to his lawyers at Elliot Hospital, not Valley Street jail, Topham said.
“This is an extremely violent individual with no regard for authority. It’s only a matter of luck that officer Stewart was not killed that night,” he said.
Topham sought the attempted murder charge in July, two months after the initial arrest. He told the judge he did so after learning details of the alleged assault.
Heredia’s public defender, Julian Jefferson, said there is no evidence about Heredia’s intentions in the attack — something Topham will have to prove to get an attempted murder conviction. Jefferson has filed to dismiss the charge.
The judge who held the hearing, Diane Nicolosi, did not increase bail to $250,000, but she changed the $20,000 bail to cash only.
Jefferson said the amount is impossible for his client, who worked as a roofer before his arrest, to raise.