By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — Charges have been dropped against two men who police said attacked and robbed another man, after luring him to an apartment on the pretense they were selling a popular video game system.
William Haley, 30, of Sanford, Maine, and Robert Caracoglia 38, of 15 Central St., third floor, were charged with armed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in connection with an incident on the night of Nov. 13.
Their cases were dismissed this week, after the man identified by police as the victim chose not to testify against them. At a hearing Jan. 23 in Haverhill District Court, Assistant District Attorney Greg Friedholm said the alleged victim wished to exercise his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives citizens the right to refuse to answer questions or give testimony that could provide self-incriminating evidence of an illegal act they could potentially be punished for.
“Without his testimony, we were unable to proceed, therefore the cases against both men were dismissed,” said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for the Essex District Attorney’s Office.
Kimball-Monahan said Friedholm appeared at the hearing because the charges against the two men would have ultimately been in the jurisdiction of the Superior Court.
Police said the arrests of Haley and Caracoglia stemmed from a complex, sometimes chaotic situation that unfolded on the night of Nov. 13 at the edge of downtown that included investigators being told there was a gunman in the area to throw them off the trail of the alleged robbers.
After they were arrested, officers searched Haley and found $191 on him, including a $100 bill the victim said was taken from him, police said. Caracoglia had $163 on him when searched him, police said. Haley’s work boots were placed into evidence due to the report of the victim being kicked, according to the police report.
According to a police report, on Nov. 13, just before 11 p.m., officers John Little and James Coutreau responded to a disturbance reportedly involving a gun at 15 Central St., just west of the downtown train station. When they arrived, a woman was yelling from a third-floor window that a man wearing a white hat ran down a nearby alley and was carrying a gun. Little chased after the man, while Coutreau remained at the building.
The man, who had gone to buy an Xbox video game system but was allegedly robbed, told police no one had a gun and that the woman was lying, according to the police report. The man said two men had knocked him to the floor inside the building earlier, kicked him in the face and body several times, and took $300 he had in an envelope, according to the police report.
Haley, who exited the building after police arrived, told police he had been confronted by two men with a gun. But the robbery victim told police a contradictory story — that Haley was one of the men who attacked him and took his money. Police questioned Haley, then arrested him after learning there were several outstanding warrants against him. While conducting a sweep of the third-floor apartment, police said they found Caracoglia hiding in a bedroom closet. Caracoglia said he was hiding because there was a warrant for his arrest.