A trial is set to begin on Wednesday, May 7 in Worcester Superior Court for Nicolas Guaman, the man charged in the death of Milford resident Matthew Denice.
The trial, which is not a jury trial, will begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday on the third floor of Worcester Superior Court, 225 Main St. in Worcester. Judge Janet Kenton-Walker will decide the case, according to Justice For Matt, a Facebook page set up in honor of Denice.
Guaman, an Ecuadorian citizen who is reportedly in the U.S. illegally, is accused of allegedly striking and dragging Denice, a Framingham State University graduate and Milford resident, on Aug. 20, 2011 in Milford. His trial was originally set for Thursday, April 3, but was delayed to this week.
Defense attorney Peter Ettenberg
told the Boston Globe that he requested a bench trial for several reasons and said there was concern that a jury could get emotionally involved.
pleaded not guilty in Milford District Court last August to charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor, negligent operation, leaving the scene of personal injury and death, possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, failure to stop for police, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop or held, resisting arrest and wanton or reckless conduct creating risk to a child. Guaman's 6-year-old son was reportedly in his truck at the time of the incident.
If convicted, Guaman would face a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 15 years, according to the Globe.
The case also has ties to a proposed "Safe Driving Bill" that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. Supporters of Bill H.3285 say it would make drivers safer because illegal immigrants would have to be trained in the rules of the road and pass written and road tests before getting a license. The bill has sparked widespread opposition, as well, and Milford resident started an online petition against it.
"I'm still opposed to it," Denice's mother, Maureen Maloney, told Milford Patch. "These are people who are driving without a license. They're blatantly doing it, so I don't think we should be changing our laws to accommodate people that are breaking our laws."