ROCKLAND — The manslaughter trial of a Rockland man accused of beating a 4-year-old girl to death in 1994 has been scheduled to begin June 19 in Penobscot County Superior Court in Bangor. The trial was moved to Bangor because of intense public reaction surrounding the case.
Harold Clarke, 33, has been charged with the beating death of Deanna Wadsworth of Rockland. Clarke was baby-sitting the child Nov. 7, 1994, the day she died.
Police said the child died from the results of blunt force trauma to the abdomen, which occurred a few hours before her death.
The case has been complicated by extreme public reaction to the child’s death, which included a torchlight parade to the courthouse before police concluded their investigation.
Defense attorney Steven Peterson of Camden forced a judge to interview the grand jury which indicted Clarke, to determine if the jurors were tainted by heavy press coverage. A judge determined that no prejudice had been demonstrated by the grand jurors.
Clarke was released on $50,000 bail on the manslaughter charge. The bail was increased to $100,000 after Clarke was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine. This week, a Superior Court judge ordered Clarke transferred to maximum security at the Maine State Prison because of persistent problems while he was held at the Knox County Jail.