Aug. 31—BRENTWOOD — A man scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday to his role in a toddler's overdose death at a Londonderry truck stop has opted for a jury trial instead.
The after-hours courthouse request, made late Tuesday, was also brought to Judge David Ruoff the following morning.
Dana Dolan, 27, is charged with negligent homicide, reckless manslaughter, reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and falsifying physical evidence. He remains in police custody.
The anticipated 7-day trial is now scheduled to begin with jury selection March 13, 2023.
This isn't the first time attorneys have submitted an 11th hour request in the case.
Court paperwork shows that a deal to avoid trial was filed March 18, the last possible day before a jury was to be selected.
An overview of a capped plea deal, which still required approval from a judge, explains that Dolan would have admitted to a reckless conduct charge in exchange for a shorter sentence — 3 1/2 to 7 years in New Hampshire State Prison.
Details of the latest deal were not discussed in open court.
The allegations against Dolan date back to Nov. 16, 2020, when police were called to RMZ truck stop for a report of a 2-year-old in cardiac arrest. The girl and her 4-year-old sister had been in a pickup truck with their parents and Dolan, a friend.
According to an affidavit, Dolan told police how he started using drugs with the girls' parents, Mark Geremia, 34, and Shawna Cote, 30, soon after trading an ATV for them in Lawrence.
On the way back to the Lakes Region, Geremia pulled over at the Londonderry truck stop after having a hard time driving. The three adults snorted their second line of heroin there, the affidavit states.
Police said that during an interview later at the Londonderry Police Department, Dolan recalled waking up at 6 a.m. and taking more heroin with Cote.
He said the mother was cutting the drug on a book, but fell asleep in the process, pressing her chest against it. He said he shook Cote awake and told her not to drop the drugs on her 4-year-old asleep in her lap.
Dolan told police he was preparing to inject his hit when the youngest girl began to cry. He recalled moving a car seat and unbuckling the baby.
"I don't know if she climbed over or if Shawna ended up grabbing her, or what," Dolan is quoted in court paperwork. "But she got into the front and I did my shot, cleaned myself up, and put it away. And then I ended up falling asleep and (the toddler) and them fell back asleep in the front..."
Dolan told police that shortly after his injection, Geremia prepared three more lines of heroin — one for each adult, which they all consumed. He said he fell asleep again and woke up to screaming.
Geremia said he found his youngest girl unresponsive in the front seat with her face down on the middle seat and her legs hanging toward the floor of the truck.
She has only been identified publicly with initials "A.G." due to her age.
She was declared dead at Parkland Medical Center, the cause later deemed acute fentanyl intoxication.
The girl's mother took a plea deal earlier this year, admitting to negligent homicide, falsifying physical evidence and endangering a child. She will spend at least the next five years in prison and possibly longer depending on rehabilitation programs completed.
Geremia has maintained a not guilty plea and remains held in police custody. His trial is scheduled for February 2023.