NASHUA — The man accused of shooting a bride and a minister during a wedding at a Pelham church Saturday had been released in December from a Massachusetts prison, where he had been serving time for beating an estranged girlfriend over three days in 2012.
Dale E. Holloway Jr., 37, was sentenced to a maximum of seven years in prison after he was convicted of assaulting the woman and sending threatening letters to her and her mother before his trial, records show. He was released from MCI-Cedar Junction on Dec. 18, according to the Massachusetts Department of Correction.
Details of Holloway’s criminal record emerged as he was ordered held without bail Tuesday on attempted murder charges after waiving his appearance in Hillsborough County Superior Court. He is due back in court Oct. 22.
On Saturday morning, authorities say, Holloway opened fire inside New England Pentecostal Ministries before he was gang-tackled by guests who kept him pinned down until police arrived. Holloway allegedly shot Bishop Stanley Choate, a pastor at the church, in the chest, and the bride, Claire McMullen, in the arm. He also allegedly pistol-whipped the groom, Mark Castiglione.
Choate, 75, remained at Tufts Medical Center in Boston on Tuesday. McMullen, 60, did not require surgery, the attorney general’s office said. Castiglione, 60, was treated at a local hospital and released.
Authorities have not disclosed a motive for the attack, but Castiglione is the father of Brandon M. Castiglione, who allegedly shot and killed Holloway’s stepfather, Luis Garcia, in Londonderry on Oct. 1.
Garcia, 60, was also a minister at New England Pentecostal Ministries, and had tried to help the younger Castiglione, 24. Castiglione was arrested Oct. 2 and has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, records show.
Funeral services for Garcia were to be held at the church Saturday at noon but were postponed after the shooting.
Authorities said they are working to determine whether Holloway was seeking revenge for his stepfather’s death.
Holloway is charged with attempted murder, second-degree assault and battery with a deadly weapon, assault, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. His court-appointed public defender, Michael Davidow, could not be reached for comment.
At Garcia’s home in Manchester, a woman who answered the door declined to comment on Tuesday.
The Castiglione home in Londonderry had a sign posted on the mailbox at the end of the driveway: “No Trespassing.” No one answered the door at Choate’s home in Nashua.
Brenda Murphy, who has attended New England Pentecostal Ministries off and on for 35 years, said outside court Tuesday that the church teaches forgiveness, even in response to violence.
“You don’t compound situations by allowing evil to overtake you,” Murphy said, adding that even “murder is forgivable.”
In court papers, New Hampshire prosecutors noted that Holloway was accused of stabbing a person in Boston’s Downtown Crossing in March 2001. Holloway’s lawyer said he was trying to protect a friend who was attacked by a gang member.
In that case, Holloway was described as the victim of chronic abuse by his father. When he was 9, Holloway ran away and moved back in with his mother, court records stated.
“His mother and stepfather who live in Brockton are willing to take Dale into their home and cooperate” with court orders, the documents stated.
In 2008, Holloway wrote a Suffolk County judge to request 53 days of credit for being held in jail pending resolution of criminal charges against him. Holloway said he had a 2-year-old son, had gotten a GED, and participated in stop-violence and parenting programs.
“I recently ‘denounced’ the (Latin Kings) gang I was active with before” imprisonment, Holloway wrote. “Unfortunately, I was recently attacked for that reason.”
The judge denied his request.
A few years later, Holloway was convicted of attacking his estranged girlfriend in her Plymouth home and then keeping her under his control for three days until she was able to text a friend, who contacted authorities.
“The evidence painted a picture of the victim being in grave danger,’’ according to an appeals court ruling that upheld Holloway’s convictions.
“The defendant forced his way into the victim’s home wearing a ski mask, controlled her for the next three days, and told her they should poison their food and kill themselves or steal a van and crash it into a tree.”
In letters he sent to the former girlfriend and her mother, Holloway demanded access to his children in language the appeals court ruled amounted to a threat against a prosecution witness.
“I will use every strength in my mind, body & soul to gain ‘custody’ or even ‘visitation’ rights to my kids,” Holloway wrote. “So either bring them to see me (in prison) or I will bring you to court for custody and visitation rights. Don’t be stupid.”
Holloway was convicted of witness intimidation and two counts of assault and battery. He was acquitted of rape charges.