CONCORD — A sucker punch is responsible for the death of a Manchester man who fell onto a sidewalk after being hit, struck his head and died two days later, a prosecutor said Monday.
The defendant, Daniel Samaria, 44, faces charges of negligent homicide and first-degree assault.
Robert Lachance, whose efforts to clean up a parking lot sparked Samaria’s ire, said Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney David Jenkins, died Sunday afternoon at the hospital when he was pronounced brain-dead and was removed from life support.
“Basically, (Samaria) sucker punched him in the head,” Jenkins said in Hillsborough County Superior Court.
Jenkins convinced Judge Amy Messer to order Samaria held without bail under preventive detention.
An argument between the two men started Friday evening in the parking lot of the Families in Transition Family Place Resource Center and Shelter, 177 Lake Ave., Jenkins said during a hearing.
According to court paperwork, Samaria’s address is the shelter, but his residence is unclear and he may have been living in his car, which was parked nearby, Jenkins said.
Samaria was sitting on milk crates in the parking lot, and Lachance told him to leave and threw the milk crates in a dumpster, according to court records.
Footage from video cameras shows Samaria later running up to Lachance and punching him from behind, Jenkins said.
Then Samaria walked away and did nothing, Jenkins said.
“He was clearly in distress, clearly needed help,” Jenkins said. Help arrived when a driver stopped and summoned authorities.
Jenkins said Samaria has a record that stretches back to 1995 and has faced four misdemeanor assault charges since then.
Nearly a dozen friends and family members of Samaria appeared in court, but they would not speak to reporters afterward, fearing their words would be twisted.
Public defender William Schultz said Samaria is from New Hampshire and has never missed a court appearance. Samaria has always lived here and has strong family ties, including with a 6-year-old son in his care, Schultz said.
He asked Messer to set bail at personal recognizance, which she decided against.
”Just because there was a catastrophic injury here doesn’t mean the defendant intended the result,” Schultz said.
During the hearing, Samaria twice piped up from the defense table. He specified his heart medication. And when Schultz mentioned intoxication, Samaria appeared irritated.
“I got a question. Who’s intoxicated?” Samaria said. Schultz quickly conferred with him.
Schultz said he would like an evidentiary hearing to investigate the blow that hit Lachance, the origin of any wounds or bruises on Lachance’s face, and intoxication.
Families in Transition said it could not say who is or is not in any of its programs.
“However, we are saddened for the community to learn about what happened,” said spokesman Michele Talwani.