Interview, search tops Luna trial testimony
NASHUA – In a post-arrest interview with Pelham Police Department detectives the afternoon of June 20, 2017, William Luna “mentioned” heroin and fentanyl, and at one point said he was “sure” fentanyl “was in” the substance he sold to Nicholas Wells late the previous evening, a police detective testifying Wednesday said.
Pelham Police Department Det. Bismarck Montano, who took the witness stand early during the third day of Luna’s drug-death trial, also told the court that Luna admitted to police he took, for his own use, a portion of the drugs he sold to Wells, and that both quantities came from the same batch.
While Luna mentioned both heroin and fentanyl during police interviews, an autopsy ruled an overdose of fentanyl claimed the life of Wells. The 25-year-old Pelham man bought drugs, allegedly from Luna, roughly six hours before he was found unconscious and unresponsive on the ground just outside his Pelham home.
The allegations prompted police to arrest Luna, 45, most recently of Lowell, Massachusetts, to charge him with several drug-related offenses that include sale of controlled drug-death resulting, a special felony that is punishable by up to life in prison.
The other charges Luna faces include two counts each of a controlled drug-acts prohibited, and possession of a controlled drug-subsequent offense, all felonies; and one count each of possession of cocaine-subsequent offense and possession of fentanyl, amount greater than one gram and less than five grams, both special felonies.
Testimony is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. today in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South. The parties have indicated one, or both, may rest their cases today, which would set the stage for closing arguments.
The case would then go to the jury, which is comprised of eight women and six men, including the two alternates.
On Wednesday, segments of Luna’s post-arrest interview with police were shown to the jury, after which Assistant Attorney General Jesse J. O’Neill, who is prosecuting the case with Assistant Attorney General Heather Cherniske, questioned Montano, the Pelham detective, about the events.
Asked by O’Neill if Luna “said anything specific … about what he (allegedly) sold to Nick Wells,” Montano said Luna “mentioned heroin and fentanyl.”
Luna also told detectives, according to Montano, that he’d been receiving treatment for substance abuse in Lowell, and had “been clean” for about five years before recently relapsing.
Since then, according to testimony, Luna had allegedly been selling drugs to support his habit.
Anthony Naro, who is representing Luna with attorney Marc Gouthro, asked Montano in cross-examination about the search of Wells’s residence police conducted the morning of June 20, after medical personnel took Wells to the Lowell hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Showing on an overhead projector enlargements of various photographs police took inside the lower level of the residence, where Nicholas Wells had set up a studio apartment, Naro first asked Montano if police “searched the whole basement.”
Montano said they did not, nor did they search a sofa, sets of shelves on which a television sat, or the trash.
Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Telegraph_DeanS.