Trial for man accused of drug sales scheduled to begin on Monday - 481

LACONIA — A Belknap Superior Court judge has reduced the bail for a Manchester man charged with one count of sales of narcotics from $100,000 cash to $25,000 cash.

Judge James O'Neill ruled yesterday that Alfredo Gonzalez, 46, of Center Street in Manchester must wear an electronic bracelet and provide the court proof the bail money is legally obtained, should he post it.

His trial is scheduled to begin on Monday morning and the jury has been seated.

Initially incarcerated for providing the heroin that killed 22-year-old Ashley Denty in late March of 2011 Gonzalez has been in jail for two years. He is also charged with one general count of sales of heroin.

Earlier this year, a different Belknap County jury found him not guilty of sales of controlled drugs regarding a completely unrelated case.

After a hearing held last week, Gonzalez's attorney, Mark Sisti, argued that he should be released on personal recognizance bail and both the charges against his client should be dismissed because he had recently learned state and the Laconia Police Department were investigating a different person in connection to Denty's death — information he said was exculpatory and that he should have had immediately.

The man allegedly posted on his Facebook page that he administered the heroin that killed her. Sisti said the police conducted the interview with him in April and gave the transcript to the prosecutor in July, but he never heard about it until five days before the trial.

A day later, Asst. Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern dropped the most severe charge. She said the investigation into the man who said he injected Denty with the drug has nothing to do with the charge that Gonzalez sold the drug who ultimately sold it to Denty.

Yesterday, O'Neill ruled that the new evidence was not relevant to the sales-only charge and said the case will go forward Monday as scheduled.

In July, Gonzalez also pleaded guilty to one count of assault by prisoner for an altercation he had with two other inmates while in the Belknap County House of Corrections awaiting his trial for the heroin sales.

He was sentenced to serve 2-to-5 years in the N.H. State Prison — all suspended. He was also given an 8-month sentence in the Belknap County House of Corrections but was credited with eight months of time served.

O'Neill also ruled yesterday the prosecution could use Gonzalez's guilty plea to assault by prisoner as evidence should he take the stand in his own defense. Sisti had objected to the conviction being allowed into evidence.

O'Neill split the difference by saying the jury had a right to use the conviction to assess Gonzalez's character if he chooses to testify in his own trial but said he would give the jury a limiting instruction saying they were not to consider his guilty plea to the assault as evidence in the trial for drug sales.