PARIS — A judge ruled Monday that the bail of a Brownfield man charged in a shooting on Saturday should be lowered, but also ordered that the man cannot return home if he is released.
Justice Robert Clifford lowered 42-year-old Keith Brain's bail from $30,000 to $5,000 during Brain's initial appearance in the Oxford County Superior Court. Brain is charged with elevated aggravated assault following the shooting of his 38-year-old neighbor, James P. Walsh, on Moore Street.
Clifford said he was concerned that the conflict between the two men could flare up again if Brain returned to the area. He said Brain is not to possess any dangerous weapons, have no contact with Walsh and is not to return to the neighborhood. The last condition may be amended at a later date.
The incident has its roots in a domestic dispute involving Walsh and his 33-year-old ex-girlfriend. Walsh was arrested on June 28 on charges of domestic assault, domestic terrorizing, criminal mischief and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
According to a report by Deputy Robert Ryder of the Oxford County Sheriff's Office, the woman moved her belongings to a garage at the Brain residence following the domestic incident. Walsh was arrested again on Wednesday, three days before the shooting, and charged with burglary, theft, harassment by telephone and violating conditions of release.
Brain's wife told police that Walsh went into the garage, removed other items and threw several of the woman's belongings on the ground. Brain's wife also said that Walsh called her number several times after his ex-girlfriend went to the Brains' house to help clean the garage. The ex-girlfriend called Brain's wife shortly after she left to say that Walsh had called her threatening to burn the garage down.
A judge set Walsh's bail at $250 on Friday and also allowed him to be released on a supervised pretrial contract. Brain's lawyer, Robert Ruffner, said Monday that the family was seeking a protection from abuse order against Walsh and was unable to expedite the process after finding that he would be released.
According to a report by Sgt. Matthew Baker of the Oxford County Sheriff's Office, Walsh said he was returning a car seat belonging to his ex-girlfriend to the Brains' residence on Saturday afternoon. He said he threw the car seat onto the lawn because he thought it wouldn't be visible at the end of the driveway, and that Brain came out of the residence and threatened him with a .357 Magnum handgun after he did so.
Brain's wife said she heard four or five shots during the confrontation. Walsh said Brain shot at him as he was dialing 911. Walsh was shot in the left leg and right elbow. Brain fled into the woods following the incident and was found almost five hours later by members of the Maine State Police Tactical Team.
Brain works as a project management director at FairPoint Communications in Portland. Ruffner asked for $5,000 bail, saying Brain has no violent history and that he was responding to threats made against him and his family.
“The Brains haven't had a problem with Mr. Walsh,” Ruffner said. “Mr. Walsh has had a problem with the world.”
Assistant District Attorney Joe O'Connor said Brain has no criminal history, but that the $30,000 bail was “minimally appropriate.” He argued that the shooting could not be justified as self-defense, and that Walsh's prior actions had been nonviolent.
“The defense is the victim deserves to be shot, in his own driveway as he was dialing 911,” O'Connor said.
A corrections officer at the Oxford County Jail said on Monday afternoon that Brain had made bail.