A gunman who opened fire in a New Hampshire church during a wedding, wounding the bride and bishop, was sentenced Monday to a minimum of 50 years to life in prison.
The man, Dale Holloway, 41, barged into the New England Pentecostal Ministries church in Pelham, N.H., on Oct. 12, 2019, on an apparent revenge mission, shooting Bishop Stanley Choate in the chest and the bride, Claire McMullen, in the arm, according to court documents.
According to a sentencing memorandum filed by state prosecutors, Mr. Holloway, the stepson of Luis Garcia, an ordained minister at the church who was fatally shot 11 days before the wedding, entered the church on the morning of Oct. 12 during the wedding ceremony for Ms. McMullen and Mark Castiglione, the father of Brandon Castiglione, the man charged with killing Mr. Garcia.
At the end of the wedding ceremony, Mr. Holloway stood up and moved toward the altar, at which point Bishop Choate stretched his arms out and pleaded, “Son, no, no, no, no,” prosecutors said. Mr. Holloway then shot the bishop and the bride. Mr. Holloway also struck Mr. Castiglione in the head before churchgoers tackled him to the ground, prosecutors said.
The younger Mr. Castiglione, who shot Mr. Garcia, was sentenced in August to 42 years to life in prison, WMUR-TV reported at the time.
In November, a jury convicted Mr. Holloway, who represented himself, of attempted first-degree murder and several other charges, including assault with a deadly weapon and being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon, court records show. Mr. Holloway was sentenced Monday to 40 years to life on the attempted murder charge, to be served consecutively with two concurrent 10-to-30-year sentences for the assault and weapon possession charges, the court said.
The criminal charges are “as serious as it gets,” Justice Charles S. Temple of Hillsborough Superior Court said as he handed down the sentence on Monday.
“The nature of the crimes deserves a severe punishment,” he said.
Daniel Duckett, a standby lawyer who said his role was to answer Mr. Holloway’s legal questions, but not to provide any strategy advice, said by phone Monday that he could not comment on the case or the sentencing.
The prosecutor who handled the case could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday evening.
Mr. Holloway argued that his crimes were the result of mental illness, but was ultimately unsuccessful in convincing the jury, Justice Temple said. The nature of the crimes, and Mr. Holloway’s history of violence, he added, led him to conclude that Mr. Holloway’s rehabilitation “has to occur behind the walls of the state prison.”
Mr. Holloway is currently serving a seven-and-a-half-to-15-year sentence for assaulting his lawyer in 2019, a spokesman for the court said by email. He noted that Monday’s sentences would be served consecutively to Mr. Holloway’s current jail time.
Alain Delaquérière contributed research.