DWC guard involved in melee arraigned

NASHUA – A Connecticut youth services worker who said he has known former Daniel Webster College basketball player Marquise Caudill for about 10 years said Tuesday that Caudill’s alleged violent outburst in Saturday’s game was completely out of character for the 22-year-old man.

"I was taken aback … this is not typical of Marquise," social worker Willie Taylor told Nashua district court Judge Paul S. Moore, adding that Caudill "has done so well" in overcoming his difficult childhood that he was able not only enroll at Daniel Webster College but also to become a formidable presence on the basketball court.

Taylor spoke during Caudill’s arraignment Tuesday morning, which was conducted in the Nashua court via video conference from Valley Street jail in Manchester.

Caudill, a resident of South Hadley, Mass., and formerly of Connecticut, was arraigned on four charges stemming from the brawl, which broke out about five minutes into the second half of the Eagles game against Southern Vermont College, the league’s top team and a DWC rival.

The charges include one count of second-degree assault, a Class B felony, which accuses Caudill of stomping on Vermont sophomore guard Kyle Depollar’s head after Caudill allegedly dropped Depollar to the hardwood by punching him in the face.

The other three charges are Class A
misdemeanors: Simple assault, which is tied to the punch that leveled Depollar; disorderly conduct, for allegedly "engaging in violent and tumultuous behavior (at DWC’s Vagge Gym) by yelling, swearing and throwing several items," and criminal threatening, for allegedly getting in Nashua police officer John Hannigan’s face and "raising a fist at him while telling him he was going to kill him," according to police reports filed in court.

Moore, the judge, modified Caudill’s bail from $50,000 cash only to $50,000 cash or surety, rejecting Nashua police prosecutor Donald Topham’s recommendation to increase it to $100,000 cash only.

"This is behavior that is completely unacceptable … that anyone would make a threat like that to a police officer," Topham said in support of the higher bail.

"The defendant was completely out of control, yelling, swearing … the officer was trying to calm him down when (Caudill) began throwing things around (then) raised a fist to the officer and said ‘I’m going to (expletive) kill you,’" Topham added.

That the DWC basketball season is over – for good – at Daniel Webster, and the college itself is also closing at the end of the academic year, makes Caudill "an extreme flight risk," Topham told Moore. He added that prosecutors also consider Caudill "an extreme danger to the community" in light of his alleged actions.

If Caudill makes bail, Moore ordered him to have no contact with Depollar, to continue living at South Hadley address, to refrain from alcohol and illegal drugs, possess no firearms and to sign a waiver of extradition.

Caudill, who greeted Moore with, "Hi, how are you doing, your honor?" as he appeared on the courtroom monitor, answered Moore’s questions clearly, and told the judge he understood the charges against him.

Both he and Taylor asked Moore about the possibility of personal recognizance bail, prompting Moore to agree to modify it.

"I would like to see him released so he can finish out the school year," Taylor said.

Moore set a probable cause hearing for Caudill for 8:15 a.m. on Monday, March 6, in the Nashua court.

Police reports filed in court, meanwhile, indicate that DWC officials requested a police officer be present for the game because "there was tension between the two teams" when they met earlier in the season.

Athletic Director Susan Elsass also told Hannigan, who was assigned to the detail, that "there were several disciplinary issues within the team," according to a police affidavit.

Hannigan said in his reports that the melee stemmed from a scramble for a loose ball. "During the scuffle, tensions grew high …" he wrote, adding that a Daniel Webster College player later identified as Caudill allegedly punched Depollar, the Southern Vermont player, knocking him to the floor.

Both teams’ benches emptied, resulting in players and coaches "converging on the floor, creating a chaotic scene," according to the report, which describes Caudill "as completely out of control" as some of his teammates tried to restrain him.

As he allegedly "continued to yell and swear loudly … telling several players, coaches, fans and (game) officials he was going to ‘kill them,’" the report states, several of Caudill’s teammates "physically escorted" him into a nearby training room.

At that point Hannigan "attempted to effect the arrest" of Caudill, but he allegedly "got within several inches" of Hannigan’s face "and raised his fist … telling (Hannigan) he was going to kill him."

Hannigan tried to use his Taser, the reports state, but was unable to because "several other players and fans had converged on him."

Once the backup officers that Hannigan had called for began to arrive, the reports state, he was able to take Caudill into custody. As the officers went about dispersing the crowd, Hannigan was able to interview two referees as to what they saw as well as view video of the incident.

Hannigan also spoke with Depollar, who, the reports state, recalled being punched in the face as he went to help a teammate up. He remembered closing his eyes, "but the rest of the details were hard (for him) to remember," according to the reports.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or@Telegraph_DeanS.