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Prosecutor: Somerville shooting set up to appear as self-defense

Posted by Jarret Bencks  November 16, 2012 02:35 PM

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The victim of a shooting in Somerville Sunday has a bullet lodged in his spine and is on life support, prosecutors and family members said Friday morning.

"He's fighting for his life," Jose Andrade, the victim's brother, said following a hearing in Somerville District Court.

Santano Dessin, 33, has maintained he acted in self-defense when he shot the brother of a tenant of his parents' three-family home at 196 Broadway about 11:30 p.m. But in a hearing Friday, prosecutors said he baited the victim and two others into a confrontation in order to make it appear to be self-defense, even going as far as recording a video of events leading to the shooting.

"It's a set up," Assistant District Attorney Chris Tarrant said Friday. "He's baiting these individuals to give him an opportunity to shoot one of them."

The shooting was spawned by an argument over the volume of music played by a downstairs tenant of the shooter's parents, police said Friday.

Dessin was ordered held without bail by Somerville District Court Judge Maurice Flynn following Friday's hearing, which was held to determine whether he was a potential danger to society.

Flynn viewed a recording of events leading up to the shooting that Dessin made on his camera phone. The video was sealed from the public, but Tarrant partially described it in court Friday.

It shows the victim and another man leaving the home as Dessin films them from his parents' second floor apartment, he said. Armed with a handgun, knife and pepper spray, Dessin went to the front yard of the home and aggressively confronted them, Tarrant said.

An argument broke out between Dessin, the victim and two other men, before Dessin fired his gun, Tarrant said.

"(The victim's) mistake was responding to Mr. Dessin's aggressive behavior," Tarrant said.

Dessin's lawyer, Rudy Miller, sought to have him released to the custody of a relative and be subject to home confinement with GPS monitoring. The shooting was an act of self-defense, after he was attacked by the three men, Miller said. Dessin called 911 and cooperated with police, Miller said.

"Its highly unlikely my client would pose a danger to the individual who was shot or anyone involved, for that matter," he said.

Andrade said his brother was leaving the apartment at 196 Broadway, where their other brother lived on the first floor, and preparing to walk home when confronted by Dessin.

"He wasn't looking to hurt anybody," Andrade said.

The victim, 28, worked in the trash disposal business, Andrade said. He moved to Somerville from El Salvador 13 years ago and has two children, an 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, he said.

Dessin is slated to appear in court Dec. 13 for a probable cause hearing.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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