FARMINGTON — The state’s chief medical examiner testified Wednesday that the gunshot that caused the death of a New Sharon man entered the crest of his shoulder in a downward motion at about a 45-degree angle.
The three wounds to Michael Reis were caused by a shotgun, Dr. Mark Flomenbaum told a jury on the third day of Timothy Danforth’s murder trial. Danforth, 25, of Farmington, formerly of Wilton, is accused of killing Reis, 24, of New Sharon in the early hours of June 1, 2016, outside the mobile home Danforth shared with his father on Weld Road in Wilton.
The third and fatal shot caused a penetrating wound to the right chest and entered through the top of the shoulder, fractured the head of the humerus and entered the chest cage, Flomenbaum said.
The petals on the plastic cup that holds the bird-shot pellets and keeps them separated from the gunpowder in a shotgun shell opened and traveled into the body, he said.
Damage to the right artery was caused not by pellets but by pieces of plastic, he said. The plastic was wedged in a major artery that supplies blood to the right lung, Flomenbaum said.
Damage was significant and the blood filled up the chest cavity and clearly was fatal, he said.
A shot, considered by the state to be the first of three, grazed the top of the left foot and caused injury to a small toe. The shotgun wound to the right thigh, considered the second shot by the state, went through soft tissue and muscle from the outside to inside on a downward projection before it exited the body, he said. It ripped through a major artery and vein and was potentially fatal, the medical examiner said.
Trevan Goodwin, 17, of Wilton testified that he was walking home on Main Street in Wilton on May 30, 2016, between 10 and 11 p.m. He was texting and stopped to finish a text. Timothy Danforth had been sitting nearby and asked Goodwin if he knew Zach Uhlman. Goodwin said he asked, “‘Why? Who are you?'” Danforth identified himself and told him he wanted to hurt Uhlman, not kill him, because he owed Danforth’s father $200 for a bag of marijuana, Goodwin said.
Goodwin, who said he had been drinking, said Danforth had a gun on his hip but did not threaten Goodwin and never flashed the gun. Goodwin told a friend the next day about the comment about Uhlman. That friend texted Gary Brosius, 24, of East Dixfield, which kicked off a text war between Timothy Danforth’s father, Robert Danforth, Brosius and Uhlman.
Andrew Goding of Wilton said he went to Danforth’s home on June 1 and when he was approaching the door, he saw in his peripherals a black object raised. Danforth said it was only “Andrew” and the black object was lowered, he said. When he went inside, a black handgun was on a table and Timothy Danforth was sitting on the couch beside it. Goding said he did not see a shotgun.
“I really did not think anything of it,” said Goding, who admitted under questioning that he was there to get marijuana. He testified that he spent the majority of time speaking to “Rob” Danforth in the kitchen but also talked to “Tim” Danforth. Goding said he had been warned by one of them not to come over because of a situation between Uhlman, Brosius and the Danforths.
Goding said Timothy Danforth said during conversation, “‘If anything happened and I killed someone, I don’t think a jury of my peers would convict me.'”
Goding said he gave Danforth his opinion on self-defense.
Neither Danforth appeared to be frightened, he said.
Another witness, Matthew Kerr, 26, of New Sharon, had been the one to go to the Danforths on the night of the shooting to act as mediator between Brosius and Uhlman and the Danforths.
When the group of six including Brosius, Uhlman, Reis and Kerr went to the Danforths, the driver parked the car on the road. Kerr said he walked to the driveway and when he started down he heard a shot, put his hands up and said, “It’s Mattie, Matt Kerr.” He was invited onto the porch.
He testified that Timothy Danforth was near the grill and his father was near the door. He initially told a Maine State Police detective the opposite, according to a review of the police interview.
Kerr said he told the Danforths that Uhlman and Brosius were in the car and they were waiting to talk or fight. A previous witness said Danforth had yelled that the next one who came on the property would be shot.
A short time later, Reis came walking around the corner of the trailer with hands up and Timothy Danforth shot him three times as Reis put one foot on the step to the porch, Kerr said. There was no physical confrontation between them, he said.
After Reis, Kerr’s childhood friend, was shot, he picked him up and put him on his shoulder and yelled for help, Kerr said. As he was running up the driveway, Reis fell off his shoulder. He finally got him to the end of the driveway and they got him into the car. They rushed to the hospital, but Reis was declared dead after they arrived.
The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Thursday with Maine State Police Detective Jennifer King taking the stand.
NOTE: Trevan Goodwin testified Wednesday in the Danforth trial. The wrong first name was reported incorrectly.