Manchester man sentenced in FPU assault

  • Oumaru Kante, 21, of Manchester, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of simple assault and criminal trespassing on Monday at the Keene Superior Court. Kante and two former Franklin Pierce University students were arrested in February, charged with breaking into a dorm room. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, August 06, 2018 6:43PM

A Manchester man was sentenced to jail time Monday for his role in an attempted robbery that took place in February on Franklin Pierce University campus in Rindge.

Oumaru Kante, 21, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of simple assault and criminal trespass during a plea and sentencing hearing at the Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene Monday afternoon.

On the simple assault charge Kante was sentenced to 90 days in the Cheshire County House of Corrections in Keene – with a reduction of 43 days from a pre-trial credit.

He was also handed an 11 month jail sentence – all suspended for three years – on the criminal trespass charge. He will be under probation for two years upon his release.

“You dodged a bullet, the state is going to [dismiss] the serious charges against you,” Judge David W. Ruoff said at the hearing. “It could’ve been a real life-altering event for you. If you had been convicted of the felonies that you were charged with, it would have definitely affected your status here in the United States.”

Kante is a permanent resident of the United States and the misdemeanor charges will not likely have any bearing on his citizenship status, his attorney Bruce R. Jasper said Monday.

Kante told the court he was born in Africa. He lives with his mother in Manchester.

Previous felony charges of burglary and robbery were dropped as a part of the plea deal.

“Thank you for this plea. You won’t see me back here…. I do music and I’m looking forward to going back to college,” Kante said.

Rindge police responded to Franklin Pierce University on Feb. 12 for a reported assault.

Kante – along with Devonte McCall, 20, of Belchertown, Massachusetts, and Trent Dixon, 19, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland – reportedly entered a dorm room wearing ski masks and threatened to steal from the two students living there, according to courts documents.

McCall and Dixon were previously enrolled in FPU, during which time they played for the basketball team, while Kante was never a student at the university, according to Franklin Pierce University’s Communications Director Matthew Barone. Police said Kante has ties to the Red Couch Gang, a local gang in Manchester.

The two students told police the three men attacked them and left when they began shouting for help. Police said nothing was stolen and that only minor injuries were sustained.

“We went back and forth a while on this case,” said prosecuting attorney Keith Clouatre at the hearing. “On one hand, he can be seen as extremely dangerous given the preparation ahead of [the break in.] On the other hand, Mr. Kante has only a minor class B marijuana possession on his criminal record and in the end, there was a minimal amount of force involved here.”

Clouatre said the three men were attempting to steal marijuana from the dorm room and that the two students living in the room were “admitted dealers.” When asked in June about the two victims selling drugs, Rindge Police Sergeant Jeffrey Seppala said there were no additional pending charges in the case.

McCall pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor charges of simple assault and criminal trespass. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail with four days pre-trial credit on the simple assault charge, with the balance of a one year sentence suspended for two years.

He was also sentenced to a consecutive one year jail sentence on the criminal trespass charge, which was deferred for two years. The charge can be suspended for an additional two years following the deferment, if granted by the court.

Dixon is scheduled for a final pretrial court  date at the Cheshire County Superior Court in September.