Judge: Man who brandished gun in handicapped parking dispute can't have it backBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
February 07. 2018 4:11PM
NORTH HAVERHILL – A Grafton County Superior Court judge has ruled that a Lyme man who brandished his handgun during a dispute over a handicapped parking spot can’t get it back.
The gun is “derivative contraband of the crime to which the defendant pleaded guilty,” Justice Lawrence MacLeod ruled in response to a motion filed by Dylan D. Derego, 22.
Furthermore, MacLeod directed that the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm be “destroyed in order that it not be available for use in future criminal planning or acts.”
The firearm was seized from Derego by Lebanon Police Department on Apr. 30, 2017. On that date, officers responded to the Price Chopper grocery store at the Miracle Mile Plaza in West Lebanon for a report of a man, later identified as Derego, who brandished a handgun during a parking lot n altercation and then fled.
Lebanon police said Derego had verbally challenged the victim over parking in a handicapped spot. When the victim got out of his vehicle to ask what the problem was, Derego showed him the firearm. Derego was arrested a short time later on Interstate 89,
Last November, Derego pleaded guilty to felony criminal threatening. Facing up to of 3.5 to 7 years in state prison on the charge, Justice Peter Bornstein sentenced Derego to 12-months in the Grafton County House of Correction, suspended, and two years of probation.
Last month, Derego’s attorney, Charlie Buttrey, argued the gun should be returned because the legal proceedings had been resolved.
Even though Derego could not possess the gun because he is now a convicted felon, Buttrey said his client wanted Robert Withington of Canaan to “retrieve and possess the firearm.”
Viktoriya Kovalenko, an assistant Graton County attorney, objected to the defense motion, writing that Derego used his handgun “in the commission of the charged crime.” Not only should the gun not be returned, she said, the court “should order this firearm destroyed.”
MacLeod agreed, explaining in his order that Derego “cannot, as a matter of law, personally dispose of the seized firearm by selling it or gifting it while it remained in the possession of the police.” The “plain language” of the law, the judge said, delegates that right to a court or justice.