Timeline: Matthew Denice Case
Nineteen months after the death of Milford's Matthew Denice, no trial has been scheduled.
Editor's Note: the following is a timeline of events following the death of Matthew Denice, 23, who was killed on Aug. 20, 2011. Nicolas Guaman, an Ecuadorian citizen, has been charged with second degree murder and other offenses in his death.
Aug. 20, 2011: Matthew Denice, 23, a recent graduate of Framingham State University, is killed after being struck while riding his motorcycle, and dragged by a man driving a Ford F-150, according to police. The truck driver is arrested a short distance away after fleeing.
Aug. 22, 2011: Nicolas Dutan Guaman, 34, an Ecuadorian citizen, is arraigned in Milford District Court on charges relating to the death of Denice. About a dozen family members and friends of Denice attended the arraignment hearing, as well as several people who said they just wanted to show support for the family.
Aug. 26, 2011: More than 1,000 people came to Draper Memorial Park for a candlelight vigil to remember Denice. Many in the crowd said they never met the 23-year-old, but had been moved to attend the vigil by the circumstances of his death.
Aug. 30, 2011: Several hundred people, including town and state officials, attended funeral services for Denice at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.
Sept. 7, 2011: Ecuadorian officials met with town and state officials in a forum at Milford Town Hall. A protest of illegal immigration, which preceeded the meeting, drew several hundred people.
Oct. 9, 2011: More than 300 motorcyclists took part in a memorial ride for Denice, with the proceeds turned over to his family for a cause of their choosing.
Oct. 15, 2011: Luis Acosta, a witness to the crash who was in the pickup truck with Guaman, flees the U.S. and returns to his home country of Ecuador, touching off angry reactions. Acosta reportedly cut through the ankle monitoring bracelet placed on him by ICE. He remains in Ecuador.
Oct. 21, 2011: Nicolas Guaman is indicted by a Worcester County grand jury on a second degree murder charge, a more substantial charge than initially filed by prosectuors, as well as numerous other offenses. If convicted, he faces at least 15 years in state prison on the second degree murder charge alone.
Nov. 1, 2011: Guaman pleads not guilty to all charges, in his arraignment on the charges at Worcester Superior Court. He is ordered held without bail. He later is appointed two defense attorneys, Stuart Hurowitz and Peter Ettenberg.
Jan. 26, 2012: Pablo Guaman, who police say allowed his brother, Nicolas, to drive his truck without a license, is arraigned on a misdemeanor charge in Milford District Court relating to the crash. The charge is permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle. Following his arraignment, Pablo Guaman was taken into custody by ICE. He was released to state custody a few days later and ordered to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet.
Feb - May, 2012: A series of pre-trial hearings at Worcester Superior Court, featuring requests by prosecutors and defense attorneys. Among other things, prosecutors received court approval to collect Guaman's DNA, and defense attorneys received permission for a medical evaluation of Guaman. A judge also agrees to allow prosecutors to depose four members of the Guaman family, to secure their testimony should they be unavailable at trial.
June 26, 2012: In a court hearing in Worcester Superior Court, Peter Ettenberg, the lead defense counsel, said his client is not competent to stand trial. He cited a medical evaluation by a neuropsychologist selected by the defense. A court-appointed psychologist is now conducting a complete evaluation of Guaman.
June 27, 2012: Maria Yupangui, the wife of Nicolas Guaman, is deposed in a public session at Worcester Superior Court. Under questioning from a state prosecutor, she said her son, a witness to the events, was traumatized by what happened.
July 26, 2012: A Worcester Superior Court judge decided to close to the public all future depositions of the Guaman family members, as depositions were scheduled to continue. The next hearing in the case was scheduled for Aug. 29.
January 29, 2013: Worcester Superior Court judge Janet Kenton-Walker holds a competency hearing, to collect testimony from defense- and state-appointed psychologists about whether Guaman understands the case against him and can assist in his legal defense.
March 13, 2013: A deposition is collected from Pablo Guaman, brother of Nicolas Guaman. In exchange, a charge he faces in Milford District Court, of allowing an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle, will be dropped.
March 29, 2013: Superior Judge Janet Kenton-Walker said she has not yet reached a determination on competency, but will issue a decision in the next few weeks. The next scheduled hearing date in the case is April 11.
April 10, 2013: Kenton-Walker releases a decision on the competency question, writing in a 12-page order that the state has not met its burden. She found Dutan Guaman is not competent to stand trial at this time, but also finds that he has barriers to competency that can be overcome. She orders his counsels to hire an appropriate translator — one who speaks and can understand the indigenous Quechua language spoken by Dutan Guaman — who can help him understand the legal process and his attorneys.
April 11, 2013: The case is continued for two months.