Noah K. Pfister: home for the holidays
Eastern Hampshire District Court Judge John Payne denied the prosecution's "Motion for Pre-Trial Detention under MGL 276, Section 58A" in the assault case of Noah K. Pfister, accused slasher of UMass student Henry Lancaster-Goguen, and set bail at $2,500.
The parents were in the courtroom on Friday to support their son, who was handcuffed and wearing leg shackles. And they would need to scramble to find a Bank of America to post the cash bail, since the proceedings concluded around 4:00 PM.
The 58A hearing was called so the prosecution could present evidence that the defendant is dangerous and should be held in jail pending trial. But the witnesses for the prosecution were hardly compelling with their testimony.
Victim Henry Lancaster-Goguen, age 21, admitted he was "very intoxicated" after attending parties at Townhouse Apartments and another at a house on Sunderland Road earlier in the evening. When police first arrived at the 66 Pine Street location he told them a fall caused his injuries.
Asked to explain that discrepancy by the Prosecutor, Lancaster-Goguen explained he was in shock and "delusional" from the assault.
He also admitted sending a text message threatening Pfister, age 24, and he could not remember who pushed first when the fight started. And when asked by the prosecution how he would feel if his attacker were released on bail, Lancaster-Goguen replied, "slightly concerned".
The most devastating testimony came from Pfister's girlfriend who had previously had a "physical relationship" with Lancaster-Goguen but had broken it off last summer.
She testified the victim had threatened Pfister, her new boyfriend, many times; called her a "whore" and "slut" in text messages; and that Lancaster-Goguen initiated the fight that night by pushing Pfister while calling him a "faggot."
Amherst Police Detective Greg Wise testified that Pfister told him during an interview that he pulled the knife "to prevent further attack," and that the victim had grabbed the knife by the blade after starting the fight.
Although it did not come up at the hearing, Henry Lancaster-Goguen is no stranger to the Amherst Police Department, having been previously arrested for noise along with the brother of his accused attacker.
The Judge set the next pre trial hearing for January 23 and told Pfister to stay out of Amherst and away from the victim until then. The parents confirmed they were taking him back to Camden, Maine.