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NH Church Shooting Suspect's Violent Criminal History, Gang Ties

The suspect is accused of opening fire at a church, shooting a bishop and a bride and pistol-whipping a groom

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Troubled Past of Pelham Church Shooting Suspect

    A man is accused of opening fire during a wedding ceremony at a church in Pelham, New Hampshire.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019)

    The man accused of shooting two people at a New Hampshire church over the weekend has a lengthy criminal history in Massachusetts, including ties to a notorious street gang and stints in prison for stabbing a man in Boston and assaulting a woman on the South Shore, government records show.

    The suspect, Dale Holloway, was accused of beating his estranged girlfriend, then holding her and her kids against their will inside her home in Plymouth over a period of three days in May 2012, according to court records reviewed by the NBC10 Boston Investigators.

    Before that, Holloway pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Superior Court in 2003 to stabbing another man with a knife during an altercation at an arcade on Washington Street in Boston.

    Holloway, 37, now faces his most serious charges to date: the alleged shooting of a bishop and bride at a church in Pelham, New Hampshire. Police continue to investigate the motive behind Saturday's attack, which took place during a wedding at New England Pentecostal Church.

    Holloway allegedly shot 75-year-old Bishop Stanley Choate in the chest and bride Claire McMullen, 60, in the arm. The groom, Mark Castiglione, 60, was wounded when he was pistol-whipped on the head, according to authorities.

    Holloway waived his arraignment Tuesday in a New Hampshire courtroom on charges including attempted murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Efforts to reach his court-appointed lawyer were unsuccessful.

    Holloway was both a victim and perpetrator of violence throughout his youth, case records show.

    He had ties to Brockton and Boston's Mattapan neighborhood growing up, and spent his early years in a family where his father abused his mother and siblings, according to a memorandum filed in court previously by one of his lawyers.

    At age 15, Holloway was stabbed at least 15 times during a robbery, leaving him with diminished strength in his right arm, according to the memo.

    Holloway also had a significant criminal record as a juvenile, including charges of unarmed robbery, assault and battery and assault by means of a dangerous weapon.

    Holloway was 18 when he committed the stabbing in Boston, attacking a man he said was pressuring another teenager into joining a gang, according to court records. On March 21, 2001, Holloway got into a fistfight with the victim and stabbed him several times, leaving the man collapsed on the ground with "his entrails spilling onto the sidewalk," according to prosecutors. The victim suffered a lacerated colon and bowel and remained unconscious for nearly one week while undergoing a series of surgeries at Massachusetts General Hospital, case records state.

    Prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Holloway to prison for seven to nine years at the time, saying he was a repeat violent offender.

    He was instead sentenced to serve a minimum of two years in prison, with an additional two years of probation to follow. He quickly found himself back in court after violating the terms of his release, however; court records show he was convicted in 2005 in Dorchester District Court of a misdemeanor charge of possession of a class D drug with intent to distribute.

    A superior court judge ordered Holloway in 2006 to be committed to Bridgewater State Hospital for 40 days in order to undergo a mental health evaluation. The judge later revoked his probation on the stabbing case and sentenced him to serve a minimum of two and half more years in prison.

    In the years that followed, Holloway served time in the Plymouth County House of Correction, Suffolk County Jail and Norfolk County Correctional Center.

    His lengthiest period behind bars followed a violent 2012 assault in which prosecutors said Holloway held his estranged girlfriend against her will in her Plymouth home. Holloway showed up on Mother's Day, forced his way into the residence wearing a ski mask and controlled her for the next three days, prosecutors alleged.

    At one point, he told her they should "poison their food and kill themselves or steal a van and crash it into a tree" to prevent being arrested and separated, according to a summary written by a panel of Appeals Court judges who later reconsidered the case.

    A concerned friend called police, who searched the home and found Holloway hiding under an upstairs baby crib.

    The woman told police she left Holloway in December 2011 after he threw her down a flight of stairs and hadn't seen him until he showed up at her home. She showed police a black eye and told them Holloway had been physically, verbally and emotionally abusive since they started dating in 2005. The couple had two children together, according to court records.

    A jury acquitted Holloway of rape when the case went to trial, but convicted him of two counts of assault and battery and one count of intimidating a witness. Holloway was ordered to serve a four- to seven-year sentence in state prison.

    While he was incarcerated, Holloway penned a six-page federal complaint from his prison cell alleging he was mistreated by government officials who handled the case. He accused police and prosecutors in Plymouth of misconduct, and claimed the victim was coerced into testifying against him.

    Holloway named a long list of defendants, including the Plymouth police chief, several police officers and Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz. He asked a judge to order the defendants to publicly apologize to him, and to award him a combined $65 million in damages.

    A federal judge dismissed the complaint one month after it was filed, finding Holloway had failed to first prove his innocence in state court.

    The Massachusetts Appeals Court also upheld Holloway's 2012 conviction in February 2019. A court-appointed lawyer had argued that prosecutors improperly presented evidence of Holloway's past "bad acts" to the jury during his trial.

    According to a footnote, jurors heard evidence that in February 2010, Holloway verbally and physically abused the victim, giving her a black eye and broken nose; that in November 2009, he raped and impregnated the victim with their second child; in May 2011, he assaulted the victim again while she was pregnant, including "throwing her into an icy shower, beating her with a belt, locking her out of the house while she was naked, and telling her to kill herself"; and that in December 2011, Holloway punched the woman and broke her jaw while she was holding her baby daughter.

    Jurors also heard evidence that Holloway forced the victim to sign a contract saying she would "be with him forever," and later told the victim he had joined the Latin Kings, a notorious street gang, and said that "if she did not obey him, he or someone else would hurt her," according to the footnote to the Appeals Court decision.

    The Appeals Court rejected Holloway's arguments, finding Plymouth County prosecutors operated within the boundaries of the law during the trial.

    Holloway was released from prison in Massachusetts in December 2018, according to officials from the Department of Correction. Court records show a Plymouth District Court judge issued an abuse prevention order in May of this year that bars Holloway from being in the vicinity of two minors.

    A judge denied a request Tuesday from the NBC10 Boston Investigators to review a copy of the order.