Police booking videos and reports and witness testimony were all discussed Tuesday during the murder trial of Nicolas Dutan Guaman, but it was one piece of evidence not allowed by the judge that received the most attention.
Prosecutor David P. Feraco wanted to submit a MassHealth card with Mr. Guaman’s name on it, but defense lawyer Peter L. Ettenberg called the card extremely prejudicial to his client. He said news headlines would focus on his client, who is living in the United States illegally, somehow having a state benefits card.
The card was apparently going to be submitted to help establish Mr. Guaman’s residency and identification, but Judge David Ricciardone ruled against use of the card. The judge is presiding over the jury-waived trial in Worcester Superior Court.
Mr. Guaman is accused of dragging motorcycle rider Matthew Denice under his truck on Aug. 20, 2011, in Milford, causing fatal injuries. Mr. Denice, 23, of Milford, was allegedly dragged about a quarter of a mile in Milford as people tried to get the driver to stop.
Mr. Guaman, a 37-year-old native of Ecuador, is on trial on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter by motor vehicle in the death of the motorcyclist. Authorities allege Mr. Guaman was unlicensed and drunk at the time of the incident.
Officers testifying in the case said they followed Mr. Guaman’s truck from Congress Street in Milford for about a quarter-mile until the truck stopped on a nearby street. As officers took Mr. Guaman into custody, they learned his young son was in the truck as well.
Angel Arce, who was a Milford police officer at the time, said he saw beer cans in Mr. Guaman’s truck. One officer testified that as they placed Mr. Guaman into custody, he felt the young boy hitting him and then asking the officers to let his father go.
Police testified that Mr. Guaman had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes at the time of the accident. Mr. Ettenberg asked Officer Arce if police learned later that another adult was in the truck at the time of the accident. Officer Arce said there was another adult.
The lawyer asked Officer Arce if he knew who had consumed the beers found inside the truck. “No,” responded the officer.
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