Pelham church shooting case could be pushed into 2022

Dale Holloway during a video arraignment in Hillsborough County Superior Court on Oct. 22, 2019. 

NASHUA — Accused Pelham church shooter Dale Holloway wants six more months to prepare a defense, meaning he would face a jury no earlier than March 2022 instead of this September.

The 38-year-old is currently awaiting trial in New Hampshire State Prison. He is representing himself in the criminal matter, however, court-appointed attorney Brian Lee will provide limited oversight pending his acceptance of the case, per a judge's request.

During a hearing Monday at Hillsborough Superior Court South, Holloway appeared via a video feed to request the delay.

Prosecutor Catherine Devine said the state “strenuously objects.”

“The victim has waited long enough for justice, and the state wishes to proceed in September,” she said. “Mr. Holloway has been doing this from the start. He has had all of this information since he fired (attorneys) and there is no need for any further continuance.”

Holloway will have to provide his reasoning in writing.

“I haven’t been able to order commissary. I’ve been in the state prison for 30 days now, and I still can’t order a book of stamps,” Holloway told a judge Monday. “I just got my property maybe a day ago. I just sorted out all of my papers. I’m not really sure exactly when I’ll be able to mail a letter out.”

He said he will file a formal continuance request as soon as possible.

In a separate case, Holloway pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month to 7 ½ to 15 years in state prison for attacking Attorney Michael Davidow.

The 20-year public defender was assigned to defend Holloway following his arrest for the church shooting. Instead, Davidow sustained life-threatening injuries during an initial jailhouse meeting.

Holloway also represented himself in that case, but was overseen by Lee under a matching order from a judge.

Investigators say Holloway walked into New England Pentecostal Ministries Church, in Pelham, on the morning of Oct. 12, 2019 and opened fire during a wedding.

Bishop Stanley Coates, 75 at the time, was taken to Tufts Medical Center in serious condition after being shot in the upper chest. For that, Holloway faces an attempted murder charge, which comes with a possible life sentence.

The bride, Claire McMullen, 60, was shot in the arm and released from the hospital the following day. The groom, Mark Castiglione, 60, was struck in the head with a firearm. He was treated at a local hospital and sent home later the same day, authorities said.

A hearing in several weeks will define Lee’s role in the case and whether Holloway’s requested extension is approved.

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