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Suspect in Windham kidnapping case seeks bail two months after judge stops trial
BRENTWOOD – A kidnapping suspect whose trial was brought to a halt after a key witness refused to testify is now asserting his speedy trial rights and may soon get a chance to be freed pending trial.
Public defenders for Luis Carvalho, 33, of Taunton, Mass. will be allowed to argue on July 22 that their client should be freed on bail as he awaits a new trial date for allegedly kidnapping a 20-year-old Windham woman at her home.
Carvalho is accused of storming a Windham home last April 15 with an unidentified partner, and restraining 20-year-old Samantha Gervais on the ground while the property was searched for money, according to court records.
The hearing comes two months after a Judge Marguerite Wageling jailed a witness, Matthew Nugent, for refusing to testify under an immunity agreement with the state.
Nugent remains held at the county jail for contempt of court. He maintained during a court hearing in May that his testimony could expose him to criminal charges in Massachusetts.
Wageling disagreed and ordered him to testify as a state witness.
Prosecutors say guns registered to Nugent were used by Carvalho and the other attacker, who remains at large. Both men wore black ski masks and gloves at the time of the attack.
Court documents recently filed by the defense say that the Windham home targeted by the two men was owned by Michael Napier, who is now facing drug charges in U.S. District Court in Boston.
Napier was arrested as part of a federal and state police investigation that targeted a drug ring that allegedly moved hundreds of pounds of marijuana in the Boston area, according to federal court records.
The home invasion happened about a month and a half before Napier was arrested.
Carvalho, who has been held at the county jail since his arrest, faces charges of kidnapping, burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, criminal threatening with a deadly weapon, criminal restraint and being a felon in possession of a weapon.
“It has now been close to 14 months since the state originally arrested Mr. Carvalho and two months since he was supposed to go on trial,” Public defender Devens Hamlen said in a court motion.
Hamlen acknowledged that his client waived his right to a speedy trial earlier, and asked for the trial to be continued twice.
He argued that one of those delays were caused because the state failed to turn over additional discovery materials, the other was caused by a state expert being unavailable to testify due to a medical issue, according to Hamlen.
“It is Mr. Carvalho’s position that his two waivers of speedy trial should not be used against him as his requested continuances were not entirely of his own making,” Hamlen said in a court motion.
Prosecutors have yet to respond. Wageling has scheduled a bail hearing for July 22 in Rockingham County Superior Court.
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