April 08, 2020

Jury finds man not a ‘thief,’ but instead a ‘hero’

MACHIAS – Is he a thief or a hero?

The prosecutor told a Washington County Superior Court jury Wednesday that Christopher Grant, 36, of Calais was a thief.

His defense attorney said he was a hero who tried to save a woman he believed was in trouble.

Wednesday, a Washington County Superior Court jury believed the defense and found Grant not guilty of breaking into a Baring woman’s trailer earlier this year.

First District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh told the jury that during the early mourning hours of Feb. 22, the victim awoke to find a vehicle in her driveway. She then heard someone trying to break into her house.

The victim found Grant and another man in her living room. The two men left, but the victim later found the grill from the back bedroom had been carried to the doorway and a box from a top shelf in the living room had been moved to the floor and rifled.

But Grant’s attorney Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth said the woman invited his client to her house when they were in line at the Discovery House methadone clinic in Calais. He said his client went there at her invitation and when he arrived he heard voices coming from inside the trailer. Toothaker said Grant knew that the victim’s boyfriend was out of town and he broke into the trailer fearing for the woman’s safety.

Cavanaugh conceded that the woman had invited Grant to her house while the two were in line, but said she later changed her mind. He said that invitation did not give Grant a license to break in. “When he entered that house,” the DA asked, “what was his intent? Was he trying to be a hero or was he trying to be a thief?”

The DA cautioned the jury that the defense was trying to “run the victim’s reputation through the mud” by parading witness after witness in front of them; the majority of whom were clients of the methadone clinic. “They tried to take her barbecue and they took her reputation,” he said.

Toothaker said the witnesses confirmed that the woman had invited Grant to her trailer, but she got scared when Grant showed up and there was another man in her bed. “She didn’t want her boyfriend to find out,” the defense attorney said.

Toothaker reminded the jury that the man who was in bed with the victim also testified on behalf of the defense. “He told you ‘I was in the back room having sex with [the victim],” Toothaker said.

Toothaker, then hammered the victim’s character. “Why steal a grill in the middle of winter?” Toothaker asked the jury. “He was there for nookie, it was pure and simple.”

Toothaker reminded the jury it took the victim 30 minutes to call police.

But in his rebuttal, Cavanaugh said if the woman was afraid her boyfriend was going to find out she was in bed with another man why would she call police. He said it didn’t make sense. The DA said Grant was a thief and that’s why he was in the house.

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