BANGOR — The attorney for a 22-year-old Brewer man whose conviction for killing his neighbor was overturned by Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court asked a judge Thursday to dismiss the murder indictment that is still in effect against his client.
Contending that the indictment should be considered null and void, attorney David Gray made some unusual and complicated legal arguments to Superior Court Justice Margaret Kravchuk.
Therrien was convicted of manslaughter in the 1995 shooting death of 32-year-old Robert Reynolds inside Therrien’s Silk Street apartment in Brewer.
At trial, Therrien testified that Reynolds came up to the apartment to harass him and his roommate. Therrien, who was reportedly high on LSD, eventually went into his bedroom and returned with a shotgun. He told jurors that he pointed the gun at Reynolds, who lunged toward it. He said he pulled back the hammer, but does not remember pulling, nor did he mean to pull, the trigger.
In May, the Law Court decided that the trial justice erred when she failed to instruct the jury about voluntary and involuntary conduct. The court overturned the manslaughter conviction.
In such cases, though the conviction is overturned, the indictment that charges the suspect with the crime remains in effect. Therefore, Therrien remains charged with the shooting and can be retried.
On Thursday, Gray argued that the grand jury had indicted Therrien for murder. The trial jury had found him innocent of murder, but guilty of the lesser included charge of manslaughter.
There was evidence at the trial of three different theories of manslaughter that could apply to the Therrien case — adequate provocation manslaughter, reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter.
Gray said that when the jury returned its verdict, it did not indicate which type of manslaughter it convicted Therrien of.
Since Therrien has been found innocent of murder, he can not be retried for that crime and Gray argued that made the murder indictment null and void.
He asked that the murder indictment be dismissed. He said later that if the state wanted to retry Therrien, they would have to seek another indictment for manslaughter.
Attorney General Andrew Ketterer called Gray’s arguments “creative and resourceful, but without merit.”
He said Maine law clearly states that manslaughter is a lesser included offense of murder and therefore the indictment should stand.
Kravchuk chose to take the matter under advisement and suggested that the attorneys provide her with written arguments by Aug. 18.
Therrien remains free on bail.