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State v. Decato

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

August 28, 2013

The State of New Hampshire
v.
William Decato

Argued May 9, 2013.

Hillsborough-northern judicial district.

Michael A. Delaney, attorney general ( Nicholas Cort, assistant attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the State.

Stephanie Hausman, senior assistant appellate defender, of Concord, on the brief and orally, for the defendant.

HICKS, J. DALIANIS, C.J., and CONBOY, LYNN and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.

OPINION

Page 1132

Hicks, J.

The defendant, William Decato, appeals his convictions, following a jury trial in Superior Court ( Brown, J.), for aggravated felonious sexual assault, see RSA 632-A:2, I (2007) (amended 2012), attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault, see id.; RSA 629:1 (2007), kidnapping, see RSA 633:1 (2007), burglary, see RSA 635:1 (2007), and falsifying physical evidence, see RSA 641:6 (2007), on the ground that he was incompetent to stand trial. We affirm.

The jury could have found the following facts. On August 25, 2009, at around 10:00 p.m., the defendant broke into the victim's home through a window and encountered the victim asleep on her living room sofa. He put a cloth over her face and began to sexually assault her. As the victim struggled, the cloth fell from her face and she clearly saw the defendant, a man she had never seen before. She also saw, on a table by the sofa, a knife that was not hers. While the defendant was distracted, the victim grabbed the knife. The two struggled, and the defendant slapped and punched the victim in the face, while the victim stabbed the defendant in the neck.

The defendant remained in the victim's home for approximately two hours, assaulting

Page 1133

and attempting to assault her numerous times in the living room, bathroom, and bedroom. The defendant's wound left blood inside and outside the house. Samples taken from the bathroom, living room, and bedroom were tested for DNA and the defendant was determined, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, to be the primary source of the DNA found. In addition, the defendant left his glasses and baseball cap at the scene of the crime. When the defendant left, he took the bedding from the victim's bed and other blood-stained items from the bathroom, which he then discarded in various places in the neighborhood.

[165 N.H. 296] Before trial, the defendant was evaluated by Dr. Daniel W. Comiskey, the New Hampshire Department of Corrections' chief forensic examiner. Thereafter, the defendant sought a ruling that he was incompetent to stand trial on the ground that he had no memory of the period during which the charged offenses took place, and, therefore, he could not communicate facts relevant to possible defenses to his counsel.

At the competency hearing, Dr. Comiskey testified that the defendant related that he had consumed eleven beers between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on the night of the charged offenses, and that he had no memory of events between 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. the next day, when he was found by police. The defendant reported one previous " blackout" he had experienced after drinking a considerable amount of alcohol. Dr. Comiskey concluded that the most likely ...


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