City man's trial in Dover McDonald's drive-thru assault begins today

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Robert C. Gorham (Rochester Police photo)

DOVER - The last of three Rochester residents to have their Dover McDonald's assault case adjudicated begins a four-day jury trial in Strafford County Superior Court this afternoon.

Robert C. Gorham, 33, of 809 Salmon Falls Road, was indicted on felony riot and assault charges in the March 2018 attack.

Champion J. Sprague, 25, of 18 Stillwater Circle and Megan L. O'Neill, 27, of Spruce Street, pleaded guilty to all charges connected to the assault earlier this spring and were given suspended sentences.

But Gorham, however, faces stiffer charges, two Class B felonies that allow for a 14-year prison sentence if convicted on both riot and second-degree assault charges.

The riot charge accuses Gorham of acting in concert with two or more people to commit an act of violence. The assault charge alleges he strangled a female victim during the attack.

Court records indicate that two victims of the attack suffered injuries, including abrasions to the female victim's neck and knee and a contusion to the head of a male victim.

The incident unfolded around 11:25 p.m. on March 10, 2018, when police responded to the report of a fight at the McDonald's restaurant at 912 Central Ave. Police learned the altercation occurred in the restaurant's vehicle drive-thru lane.

In an interview shortly after the arrests, Dover Police Lt. Brant Dolleman said the three victims, a couple in their 40s and the female's son, were just waiting in line when the three suspects cut in front of them and began taunting and insulting them.

As tensions escalated, one of the men, identified as Gorham, got out of the group's vehicle and approached the victims' car, Dolleman said, which led the 19-year-old to also get out to confront him.

Dolleman said the violence escalated quickly. First, he said Gorham took a swing at the teen, but missed. Then Gorham went over to and began strangling the woman.

As her companion came to her defense, he was assaulted by Sprague, Dolleman said, adding that at some point after this, O'Neill also struck the woman.

The alleged assailants all fled before the arrival of police, who later met up with the victims at Wentworth Douglass Hospital where they were all treated for what were describes as relatively minor injuries.

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