Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announces today that Dale Harding, 27, of Somerville was found guilty on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm following a 9-day trial in Middlesex Superior Court.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Thomas Billings sentenced the defendant to two and a half years in the house of correction, 18 months committed, with the balance suspected for three years, and three years probation from and after his jail sentence.
“This defendant was seeking to threaten, intimidate and intentionally harm another male for being involved in a relationship with a woman known to the defendant,” District Attorney Ryan said. “He flashed a gun and then fired the weapon into a vehicle after the victim jumped into the vehicle. Thanks to dedicated work by the Somerville Police detectives, this defendant’s criminal actions were discovered and police obtained evidence to bring these charges forward. With this guilty verdict, the defendant has now been held accountable for his actions.”
According to authorities, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on August 30, 2012, the defendant drove by a home on Princeton Street in Somerville. He observed a minivan parked on the street in front of the home of a female whom he knew. Believing that the victim may have been at the female’s home, the defendant armed himself with a handgun and instigated a confrontation with the victim in the middle of the street. During the encounter, the defendant flashed a gun and made verbal threats against the victim, who quickly got into the minivan. The defendant fired his weapon several times into the back of vehicle and fled. The victim chased after the defendant in the minivan, and searched for him for several minutes. The victim was not injured.
While the victim was searching the area, the defendant placed an anonymous call to 911, during which he provided a false name, and reported that he was being chased by a minivan for an unknown reason and requested police respond to Princeton Street. Minutes later when police arrived, no one was in the area and no vehicle was found. The following day, detectives found an empty 9 mm shell casing in the area of the shooting and launched an investigation.
A witness reported hearing gunshots around 1:30 a.m. on August 30 and observed a minivan that may have been involved in the incident. The witness was able to provide a partial description of the license plate. A few days later, the minivan matching the description and license plate, was involved in a car crash in Somerville. Police observed what appeared to be several bullet holes in back of the vehicle.
Based on interviews with witnesses, cell phone records, and evidence gathered at the scene, police determined that the defendant fired an illegal weapon at the minivan, attempting to harm the victim, and then called 911 in an effort to prevent the victim from locating him. He then fled the scene. The gun used in the incident was never recovered.
The defendant was arrested on September 28, 2012 and was indicted on December 19, 2012 by a Middlesex Grand Jury.
The case was investigated by detectives from the Somerville Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Corey Santos.