FARMINGTON – A Franklin County Superior Court justice denied a request for a mistrial Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of Ryan Hurd, who has admitted to being “blackout drunk” when his car crashed in October 2007.

His lawyer asked for a mistrial because one sentence of a court-suppressed portion of an interview was heard by the jury.

About 90 minutes into deliberations, the jury of 10 women and two men asked to hear a taped interview between Maine State Police and Hurd and Chad Bernier of Medway, survivors of a fatal crash on Oct. 17, 2007, in New Vineyard.

Hurd is being tried on charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence in connection with the crash that killed Terry “T.J.” Richardson Jr., 34, of Dover-Foxcroft.

State prosecutors say Hurd was behind the wheel at the time of the crash, while the defense says it was Richardson.

Both sides rested their cases on Tuesday and jury deliberations began Wednesday.

When jurors returned to the jury room after re-hearing three taped interviews, defense attorney Richard Hartley addressed Justice Michaela Murphy on the suppressed statement being heard in open court.

The court issued a specific ruling that suppressed part of an interview between a state police trooper and Hurd in the hospital, Hartley said.

Only part of the interview was initially heard in court but when it was played Wednesday, Hurd was heard using a four-letter obscenity to tell police to get out of his hospital room.

Hartley said the state was supposed to take out the suppressed statement and that portion of the interview so the the jury couldn’t hear it. He, state prosecutors and Murphy realized the statement was not removed from the CD Tuesday night when they were preparing the evidence and instructions to go to the jury, he said.

The state was supposed to fix the CD so the jury wouldn’t hear the suppressed portion.

Hartley questioned whether a mistrial was in order because of the lapse.

The state had multiple opportunities to remove it, he said.

If it wasn’t for the court reporter moving the microphone away from the computer when the suppressed part began to play, Hartley said, it would have continued because Assistant District Attorney James Andrews couldn’t turn off the CD player.

The interview that was played was supposed to end seamlessly, Hartley said. It was clear to the jury that the interview was ended artificially by the state, he said.

Andrews said he didn’t know why the suppressed statement was not removed.

Murphy said she understood Hartley’s concern, but she didn’t think hearing the one sentence required a mistrial and she denied the request.

Jurors will listen again to more witness testimony at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Franklin County Superior Court before they continue deliberations.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.