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Somerville shooter showed cellphone video of argument to police

Posted by Marcia Dick  November 13, 2012 12:25 PM

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Jarret Bencks

Santano Dessin appears at his arraignment Tuesday in Somerville District Court.

SOMERVILLE - A man accused of shooting another man outside his parents' three-family home on Broadway in Somerville took cellphone footage leading up the incident that prosecutors say shows he escalated an argument that led to the shooting.

Santano Dessin, 33, of 196 Broadway was ordered held without bail by Judge Maurice Flynn in an arraignment Tuesday morning in Somerville District Court. Flynn approved a motion by prosecutors to seal the case file pending a dangerousness hearing in Somerville District Court on Friday.

Dessin allegedly shot a 28-year-old Somerville man in the neck during an argument with the victim and two other men, including one building tenant, on the front steps of his family's home at 169 Broadway about 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

The victim, whose name was not released by prosecutors, suffered critical injuries in the shooting. He remains in Massachusetts General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, District Attorney spokeswoman Stephanie Guyotte said Tuesday.

Defense attorney Cheryl McGillivray unsuccessfully sought to have Dessin released on personal recognizance, arguing he acted in self-defense. Dessin is charged with assault with intent to murder, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury, and discharging a firearm withing 500 feet of a dwelling.

He gave himself up to police as the shooter at the scene Sunday night and showed them a video taken with his cellphone he believed proved he acted in self defense, Assistant District Attorney Lila Palmer said. But detectives who reviewed the video believe it actually shows Dessin escalated a verbal argument with three men outside the home, Palmer said.

"This was not self-defense," Palmer said Tuesday in court.

Dessin's brother, Jacques, previously told the Globe that the three men attacked his brother after he threatened to call police because they wouldn't let him back inside the home. There had previously been issues with the tenant involved in the incident Sunday, including one in which Dessin's mother was confronted with a machete, McGillivray said Tuesday.

Family members sat in the front row during Tuesday's proceedings, but declined to comment after proceedings.

"This is devastating for the entire family," McGillivray said.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at Bencks.Globe@gmail.com.

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