MANCHESTER, NH — A man charged with manslaughter and nine other offenses in the death of a 57-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of second-degree assault and received a suspended prison sentence.
Daniel Samaria, 46, originally was charged with 10 offenses in the Sept. 13, 2019, death of Robert Lachance of Manchester, who prosecutors said died after being sucker-punched in the head.
The dismissed charges included counts of manslaughter, negligent homicide, first-degree and second-degree assault and reckless conduct. Judge N. William Delker, presiding at the hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District, sentenced him to 1 to five years in prison, all of which was suspended.
A manslaughter conviction carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
Samaria was given credit for 486 days of pre-trial confinement. The sentencing also called for him to undergo anger management counseling as directed by his probation/parole officer. He also was ordered to pay a total of $5,529.14 in restitution, $1,645 to Robert Lachance Sr. and $3,884.14 to the New Hampshire Victims Program.
He was placed on probation for two years but can petition the court to reduce it to a year after a period of good behavior.
Samaria filed a self-defense claim. In it, he said multiple witnesses on the scene including Samaria described Lachance as being aggressive toward other people in the parking lot, including a child.
Messages left for the prosecutor, assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Shawn P. Sweeney, for an explanation of the negotiated plea were not returned.
Samaria was charged with sucker-punching Lachance who fell to the ground and struck his head on the pavement which ultimately resulted in his death.
At the time, Lachance was in the parking lot about 9:15 p.m. outside Families in Transition (FIT) family shelter, 177 Lake Ave., sorting through milk crates and tossing them into a garbage bin. Samaria, then 44 and reportedly either living at FIT or living out of his car outside the facility, got into an argument with Lachance.
Video surveillance, detectives said, recorded Samaria coming up behind Lachance and landing a sucker punch to his face. Lachance stumbled backward and hit his head on the pavement.
He suffered a brain bleed, had a bump on his forehead and a black eye.
Samaria, a prosecutor said, never stopped to check on Lachance.
A passing motorist stopped to go to Lachance’s aid and called 911. Lachance was taken to Elliot Hospital where he died the following day.