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Man jailed for 40 years over revenge shooting at wedding

Dale Holloway, 41, was sentenced on Monday after representing himself at his trial, during which he claimed he was mentally unstable during the shooting  (Pelham Police Department)
Dale Holloway, 41, was sentenced on Monday after representing himself at his trial, during which he claimed he was mentally unstable during the shooting (Pelham Police Department)

A man convicted of opening fire on a wedding in New Hampshire, wounding a bishop and the bride, has been sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.

Dale Holloway, 41, was sentenced on Monday after representing himself at his trial, during which he claimed he was mentally unstable during the October 2019 shooting at the New England Pentecostal Ministries in Pelham.

However, the jury rejected his insanity defence and found him guilty.

Holloway was accused of shooting the bride, 60-year-old Claire McMullen, in the arm, and a bishop, Stanley Choate, 70, in the chest.

Both survived the shooting, but continue to have health problems as a result, they told the judge, with Ms McMullen saying she had to give up her career of more than 30 years, while Mr 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,” Mr Choate said.

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.

Prosecutors said a separate celebration of life ceremony for Holloway’s stepfather had been planned at the Pelham church for later that day, which Holloway saw as a sign of disrespect.

“They planned to stomp on his grave,” he said.

As well as shooting Ms McMullen and Mr Choate, Holloway was also convicted of simple assault for striking the groom, Mark Castiglione, on the head.

Authorities said Mr Castiglione is the father of a man convicted of killing Holloway’s stepfather, Luis Garcia.

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

He “turned a marriage into mayhem”, prosecutor Seth Dobieski said of Holloway at the sentencing on Monday.

During his trial, Holloway tried to present evidence that he had suffered from a mental disease, playing his own rap music to the jury to explain his state of mind.

“Maybe I did some things that I didn’t want to do that I feel as if Satan made me do,” he said.

He also presented testimony from psychologists who said they believed he was suffering from mental health issues, including antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

However, psychologists also testified that they thought Holloway tended to exaggerate his symptoms and concluded his mental illness did not spark his actions.

The jury ultimately convicted Holloway of attempted murder in shooting Mr Choate, and two counts of second-degree assault in causing bodily injury to Mr Choate and Ms McMullen, as well as the simple assault charge.

Holloway was acquitted of an attempted murder charge in the shooting of Ms McMullen.

He was sentenced to 40 years to life on the attempted murder conviction, and two terms of 10 to 30 years on the assault and being a felon in possession charges, as well as one year for the simple assault charge.

“My hope is he will remain incarcerated forever so he never has the opportunity to negatively impact another innocent person,” Ms McMullen said at the sentencing.

“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,” prosecutor Mr Dobieski added.

Holloway was already serving seven-and-a-half to 15 years in state prison for assaulting his lawyer.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press