MANCHESTER — The defendant in the dating-cops case walked out of Hillsborough County Superior Court on Thursday, after accepting a plea bargain that meant no prison time for the two felonies stemming from a brawl outside a downtown bar last year.
Chasrick Soren Heredia, 25, will be on parole for the next two years, and a suspended sentence hangs over his head for the next five years, meaning he could end up in prison on the charges if he gets into trouble.
“This is the time to decide you’re going to turn things around,” said Superior Court Judge Amy Messer, who just two days before sent him to jail for violating his bail.
More than a dozen police officers and the family of Officer Canada Stewart filled one side of the courtroom. Several embraced Stewart after the verdict.
In early February, a jury convicted Heredia of two felonies and three misdemeanors stemming from a May 2018 melee outside the now-shuttered GlowBar in downtown Manchester.
The jury cleared him of the more serious charges — felony assault and attempted murder charges that allege he grabbed Stewart’s hair, pulled her off him and “jackhammer” punched her in the head on the pavement.
But last month, Messer granted Heredia a new trial, ruling that two Manchester police officers in the case — Stewart and Michael Roscoe — should have disclosed they were dating, and the information could have helped Heredia’s defense lawyer. Manchester police regulations do not prohibit officers from dating.
The courtroom was rapt as Stewart, who suffered a concussion during the brawl, read a victim impact statement.
“Let’s just be clear here, pulling someone’s hair is the wimpiest thing I’ve ever heard of. That’s what a coward does,” Stewart said.
She said her personal life ended up as newspaper fodder, and students at Memorial High School — where she now works as a school resource officer — repeatedly questioned her about it.
She ended the four-minute statement challenging Heredia to be able to shake her hand in five years and say he has not committed any crimes.
Following are excerpts from Manchester police Officer Canada Stewart's victim impact stateme…
Outside the courthouse, Heredia said he was not guilty of assault.
“I don’t regret standing up for my constitutional rights (outside the GlowBar),” he said. Police told him to leave, but there was no reason for them to do so, he said.
As for five years from now: “I wouldn’t shake her hand. She is not the type of police officer I think should be on duty.” He called her an imposter.
Two days before the plea bargain, Messer sent Heredia to jail, after police spied him at a Manchester bar, despite bail restrictions that required him to be home by 9 p.m.
If the case went to trial, he would likely have had a long wait. Prosecutors had asked New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to appeal Messer’s decision for a new trial. Had he done so, Heredia would have had to languish in jail during the appeal and then trial preparation. MacDonald had not made a decision on the appeal, his office said.
Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Conlon said many factors went into the plea bargain, including expectations for success at trial and the wishes of the victim. He referred a reporter to Manchester police when asked if police supported the outcome.
An email sent late Monday afternoon to police was not returned.
“It’s important the offenses against officers are pursued to the fullest extent possible,” Conlon said.
The charges Heredia pleaded guilty to are felony riot and felony resisting the arrest of Stewart. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor resisting arrest charges and a disorderly conduct charge.
He had spent 325 days in jail awaiting trial, days that were counted against his prison sentence.