BANGOR, Maine — The trial of a South Berwick man charged in the hit-and-run death of a University of Maine student 15 months ago in Orono will be held this summer.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson did not set a specific date for the trial of Garrett Cheney, 23, who is charged with manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury, and criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants.
Cheney allegedly struck and killed Jordyn Bakley, 20, of Camden about 3 a.m. Jan. 30, 2010, in front of 15 Middle St. in Orono near her apartment. He was driving on the wrong side of the street when he struck Bakley, who was killed instantly, according to court documents.
The two-week trial most likely will be held in July, Cheney’s attorney, William T. Bly of Biddeford, said Monday after a conference with the judge and Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Cheney, who has no criminal history, did not appear Monday in court.
“This is a very strong case,” Almy said Monday outside the courtroom. “We have a lot of physical evidence to show that Mr. Cheney is guilty.”
“They have overestimated the strength of their evidence,” the defense attorney said. “If jurors apply reasonable doubt as they should, they will return a not guilty verdict.”
Bakley was a 2007 graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport and a competitive swimmer for the school. She shared a house with other students at 27 Middle St.
Her body was found about 5:30 a.m. Jan. 30 by a Bangor Daily News deliveryman.
Cheney was in Orono on Jan. 29 visiting a cousin to celebrate the younger man’s 21st birthday, according to an Orono police affidavit filed at the time of his arrest.
After allegedly hitting Bakley, Cheney headed south on Interstate 95. His 2003 Chevy Silverado went off the highway about 3:30 a.m. in Etna, according to the affidavit. The damaged pickup was towed to the storage lot of a Newport towing firm.
Cheney was not injured but was charged with drunken driving. His blood alcohol level was 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit, two hours after his truck left I-95, according to the affidavit.
If convicted of manslaughter, the most serious crime with which he is charged,Cheney faces up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Reprinted with permission from the Bangor Daily News.