Accused Pelham church shooter sentenced for jailhouse attack on lawyer

·3 min read

May 27—MANCHESTER, N.H. — Attorney Michael Davidow, joined by his wife in a courtroom Thursday, detailed the most horrifying moment of his life: When he thought he would die on the floor of a locked jail cell at the hands of Dale Holloway.

Holloway, 38, was sentenced to 7 1/2 to 15 years in New Hampshire State Prison for the attack, which landed Davidow in intensive care and continues to impact him today, he told Judge Diana Nicolosi.

Just over a year and a half of pretrial confinement will count toward Holloway's minimum sentence.

"This was not an assault, it was an attempted murder," Davidow said. "And it came very close to becoming murder itself."

Holloway apologized Thursday for his actions, and asked for a lighter sentence in order to "get past this" and "get on with my life."

In October 2019, Davidow was assigned to represent Holloway after a Pelham church shooting.

Holloway is accused of injuring several people when he opened fire during a wedding. That case remains ongoing.

Davidow said he was speaking with his new client across a table at Valley Street Jail when he became Holloway's next victim.

"Blows came raining down on my head, over and over, one after another," Davidow said.

He noted, "I've been doing this for 20 years. I have seen anger. I have been threatened and I have had people get in my face, even throw things. But this was different."

Davidow listed areas of his face and neck that developed "bruises on top of bruises:" Mouth, jaw, eyes, nose and forehead.

The longtime public defender no longer goes to jail to meet with clients because of the trauma of his attack, taking him out of consideration for many cases. He said he tries to make up for that with administrative duties.

"While he was attacking me I thought that my son (6 years old at the time) was going to grow up without his father. I thought my wife was going to be alone, and those were my final thoughts," he said.

Davidow detailed losing consciousness several times in the ensuing hours. It was not until the next day that he could talk or think somewhat clearly, he said.

Holloway has since represented himself in both criminal cases, but was assisted at Thursday's sentencing by court-appointed attorney Brian Lee.

In pleading for a lighter sentence, it was said in court that Holloway contracted COVID-19 in jail and was forced to quarantine. Other inconveniences, like being forced to shower with shackles after the attack on Davidow, not having a radio or the comfort of seeing his family, were also mentioned.

"These 584 days have been more of a punishment during this time than they might be considered in ordinary times," Lee said.

The crushing impact of losing his stepfather, Luis Garcia, is said to have had a major impact on Holloway's actions.

Garcia, a pastor at the church where Holloway allegedly opened fire, was murdered weeks before.

Holloway argued that he felt defensive and scared during the meeting with Davidow, who works for the same law firm representing Garcia's accused murderer.

In deciding on Holloway's sentence in this case, Judge Nicolosi told the defendant, "there needs to be a message here: That you need to treat your defense lawyer with respect."

"You're a complicated man. I've seen you be very unrealistic in your arguments. I have seen you verge on being paranoid about things that are happening, but I've also seen you be respectful," she said. "I've seen a lot of your writings. They are intelligent and done with great effort. I've seen a part of you that probably nobody else has been at a number of hearings."

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