Bethel manslaughter case continued

0

PARIS — Court proceedings for an inn owner charged with manslaughter are being pushed back to address objections raised by the man’s attorney that evidence has been withheld. 

Steven Thomas, 54, of Califon, N.J., faces charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence after a motor vehicle accident in June 2014. He was charged after turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle on Route 2 in Bethel, killing Timothy Daigle, 43, of New Boston, N.H., and seriously injuring a passenger, police said.

Thomas’ blood alcohol content was 0.08 percent at the time, which is above the legal limit to drive, according to court documents. 

In June, Dumas filed a motion to continue the case on the grounds that the state may not have provided the defendant with all of the evidence. Prosecutors did not object to the motion and a new court date has not been scheduled. 

According to the motion, Dumas has asked a judge to force the state to hand over any videos it may have of the fatal crash after a similar, earlier request produced a DVD labelled “actual crash video” but contained a video of the crash’s aftermath taken from a police body camera.

In a letter filed with court documents, Oxford County Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne indicated the evidence does not exist and the DVD given to the defense was the true video.

“This response is unsatisfactory. It strains credulity to suggest that a person would label a video recording after of the crash ‘actual crash video,'” Dumas wrote. 

Dumas has also requested a video of Thomas’ blood being drawn by Rumford police officer Brad Gallant, after Gallant wrote in an affidavit that the blood-draw had been recorded.

However, in response, Beauchesne said police believe that no such video exists. 

Gallant said Thomas was cooperative and gave police verbal permission to draw his blood at Rumford Hospital, but afterward declined to sign a written consent form. 

Thomas was disconsolate, saying that his life would never be the same and expressed his wish that he had died in the crash, Gallant said. 

If the motion is granted, Dumas said it would require the state to produce new evidence and could prompt additional follow-up motions.

According to filings with the Maine Secretary of State, Thomas and his wife are the principal members of Custard LLC, a limited liability company that owns the Sudbury Inn, a bed and breakfast in Bethel. 

If convicted on all counts, Thomas faces more than 30 years in prison.

[email protected] 

Advertisement