GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 25, 2013

Pitbull suspect tied to '03 DUI fatality

Dugan served for DUI homicide at 17

The 27-year-old Gloucester man accused of gutting his pet pit bull Xena in what police said looked like an attempt to retrieve heroin from the dog’s innards served jail time on a charge of vehicular homicide for driving drunk at the age of 17 in a 2003 crash that left a Canton girl dead.

According to records obtained Thursday by the Times, John Dugan was released from jail in 2005, two years after his final court appearance on the vehicular homicide charge in August 2003. The records confirm that the John Dugan involved in the Canton fatality is the same John Dugan now charged in the grisly pit bull case here.

Dugan was charged in the June 18, 2003, crash with causing the death of a 17-year-old girl when he was allegedly driving a vehicle at 60 to 70 mph in a 20 mph residential neighborhood, and lost control of the vehicle, striking a concrete retaining wall, then a parked vehicle, according to reports from the time in the Patriot Ledger of Quincy.

He pleaded innocent in Norfolk Superior Court on charges of vehicular homicide, causing serious bodily injury while driving drunk, drunken driving, operating a motor vehicle recklessly, operating a motor vehicle negligently, failing to drive within marked lanes, and speeding, according to Patriot Ledger newspaper reports. The records obtained by the Times confirm he was convicted of vehicular homicide while driving drunk.

The crash that killed Najwa Khabbaz, 17, and sent Dugan and another 17-year-old to a hospital for treatment, then Dugan to jail, occurred about 9 p.m. on Canton’s Fencourt Road, according to Patriot Ledger reports. Immediately before the crash, the teenagers had been at a park where, 17-year-old Dugan told police, he drank five or six beers before the teenagers left to buy cigarettes, according to police reports obtained by the Patriot Ledger at the time.

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