Derry man charged in hammer attack to be treated at state hospital
By JAMES A. KIMBLE Union Leader Correspondent
BRENTWOOD — A Derry man who attacked two police officers with a hammer and attempted to take an officer’s firearm is being freed from county jail so he can seek treatment at New Hampshire Hospital, according to court records.
Shawn Decoste, 36, has been held on $250,000 cash bail at the Rockingham County Jail since his arrest by Derry police on Jan. 2.
Judge David Anderson agreed to temporarily free Decoste so he could undergo treatment at New Hampshire Hospital.
Decoste is facing charges of first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault, resisting arrest and attempting to take a law enforcement officer’s firearm.
He faces up to 7½ to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of the assault charges.
Derry police went to Decoste’s apartment on Jan. 2 after he allegedly posted threats on his Facebook page, saying he would kill his therapist, police said.
When police arrived at Decoste’s apartment, he allegedly charged at the officers from his bedroom and swung the claw end of a hammer at the head of Derry police Officer Peter Houlis, according to court records.
He struck Houlis on the wrist and attempted to bite Officer Stephen Jackson while being taken into custody, prosecutors said.
During a struggle with the officers, Decoste also grabbed onto the grip of Sgt. Shawn O’Donaghue’s firearm and tried to remove it from the holster, according to the indictment.
Decoste’s bail was converted to $250,000 personal recognizance for the duration of his admission, according to a court order.
Anderson said in a court order that Decoste will remain at the hospital “until NHH staff deem it appropriate to discharge the defendant.”
If Decoste is discharged from the hospital or leaves, his bail will return to $250,000 cash, according to the court order. For now, Decoste is still being held at the jail.