Judge denies change of venue for attempted murder trial

Jonathan Order appeared in the Androscoggin Superior Court in Auburn on Tuesday morning for a hearing on suppression of evidence and a motion of change the location of his attempted murder trial.

AUBURN — The trial of Jonathan Order, who was charged with aggravated attempted murder after allegedly stabbing a Lewiston police officer last year, will not be moved out of Androscoggin County.

During a hearing Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court, Judge MaryGay Kennedy denied a motion from Order’s attorneys who argued jurors in Androscoggin County could be biased toward the case because it involved a member of the local police, and the community would have a “natural tendency to defend” its law enforcement.

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The defense also said the pretrial publicity on newspaper and television stations repeated information contained in a police affidavit, which could further create a bias in potential jurors, especially from Lewiston. Order’s attorney said the trial should be moved to Portland or West Bath.

Ultimately, Kennedy did not agree.

“There has not been a sufficient showing to suggest there is this great bias,” Kennedy said in her decision on the motion. “I think we can safely find a sufficient jury.”

Attorneys from the prosecution said only three news articles had been published on the case, and pointed to the small amount of press interest at Tuesday’s hearing.

Order has pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges and four misdemeanors.

He was indicted by an Androscoggin County grand jury on the 13 counts stemming from the stabbing of Lewiston police Cpl. Michael Dumond on Sept. 19, 2016, at Order’s second-floor apartment.

Dumond was stabbed five times in his hand, chest and back, according to a police affidavit. He was hospitalized with injuries not considered life-threatening and is back to full duty.

A motion to suppress evidence obtained after police gained entry into Order’s Lewiston apartment was also denied by Kennedy on Tuesday. The defense argued that officers broke into the apartment building without a warrant, eventually recording statements and conversations with Order that have been included as evidence for the upcoming trial, according to the motion.

But the prosecution said Lewiston police had probable cause based on a serious domestic violence assault incident involving Order that occurred in Sabattus earlier that day.

A woman said Order, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, had choked her in a car across the street from Mixers Nightclub and Bar on Sabattus Road just after midnight. She said she jumped from the car, hitting her head on the pavement and that Order tried to hit her with the car.

Lewiston police officer Donald Miller took the stand Tuesday to describe the circumstances surrounding entering the building. Miller said he used an old license to pick the lock at the rear entrance to Order’s apartment building at 113 College St. after police had probable cause to arrest Order for the domestic violence incident. Miller and Dumond then began conversing with Order from outside his apartment, he said, and were told to go away.

The discussion, at times including threats from Order, continued until Order eventually opened the door and allegedly attacked Dumond.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Dolley said there was a “reasonable expectation of privacy” for Order who was in a locked apartment building at 2 a.m, that “someone was not going to break in.”

Kennedy said that argument did not apply to common areas of a multi-story apartment building, and agreed that the previous domestic violence report gave police probable cause to enter.

When asked by Dolley if he contacted a supervisor prior to unlocking the door, Miller said it was a judgment call.

The trial has been scheduled for jury selection on Sept. 14, is set to begin on Monday, Sept. 18, and is expected to last about three days.

Order, whose bail was set at $1 million cash, is being held without bail at Androscoggin County Jail on two unrelated cases.

Order’s indictment includes the following charges: aggravated attempted murder; two counts of aggravated assault; four counts of assault on an officer; domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon; domestic violence criminal threatening, trafficking in prison contraband, unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, violation of condition of release and domestic violence assault.

One of the felony charges is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

arice@sunjournal.com

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