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Man gets 40 years to life for shooting bishop at wedding in Pelham, NH

The scene of the October 2019 shooting at the New England Pentecostal Ministries.
Michael Brindley
The scene of the October 2019 shooting at the New England Pentecostal Ministries.

A man convicted of opening fire inside a New Hampshire church during a wedding, wounding a bishop and the bride, was sentenced Monday to 40 years to life in prison.

Dale Holloway, 41, "turned a marriage into mayhem," prosecutor Seth Dobieski said at the sentencing hearing.

"The wounds of Mr. Holloway's victims, they might fade with time. But the mental anguish and emotional pain he caused them is never going to go away," Dobieski said.

Holloway, who did not attend Monday's hearing, acted as his own attorney at trial, arguing that he was mentally unstable during the October 2019 shooting at the New England Pentecostal Ministries in Pelham. A jury rejected an insanity defense and found him guilty in November. Holloway is already serving 7 1/2 to 15 years in state prison for assaulting his lawyer.

The shooting happened nearly two weeks after Holloway's stepfather, a pastor at the church, was killed by the son of the groom. The son was later sentenced to prison. A separate celebration of life ceremony for the pastor had been planned at the Pelham church for later that day, which Holloway saw as a sign of disrespect, prosecutors said.

Holloway tried to present evidence that he had suffered from a mental disease. He played some of his own rap music to the jury to explain his state of mind. He also presented testimony from psychologists who said they believed he was suffering from mental health issues. But they also said they thought he tended to exaggerate his symptoms.

Stanley Choate, the bishop, was shot in the chest. The bride, Claire McMullen, was shot in the arm. Both survived but told the judge Monday they continue to have health problems. McMullen said she had to give up her career of more than 30 years.

"My hope is he will remain incarcerated forever so he never has the opportunity to negatively impact another innocent person," she said.

Choate said he had to learn how to walk again, and for a time, couldn't use his arms.

"I thank God that I've made a lot of progress, but I'm still not the man I was," he said.

Holloway was convicted of attempted murder in shooting Choate; two counts of second-degree assault in causing bodily injury to Choate and McMullen; simple assault for striking the groom, Mark Castiglione, on the head; and several other charges. The jury acquitted Holloway of an attempted murder charge in the shooting of McMullen.

Authorities said Castiglione is the father of a man convicted of killing Holloway's stepfather.

Brandon Castiglione was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 42 years in prison earlier this year for fatally shooting Holloway's stepfather, Luis Garcia, inside his home. There was no clear motive for that shooting.

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