PARIS — Defense attorney James Howaniec stopped just short of accusing 22-year-old Megan Plummer of conspiring with her younger sister to lie and convince a jury that Kristina Lowe was responsible for an accident in 2012 that killed Rebecca Mason, 16, and Logan Dam, 19.

Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford quickly shut Howaniec down, but the outrage was clear among victims’ family members seated in the back of the courtroom.

Friday was the second full day of testimony in the double manslaughter trial of Lowe, 21, of West Paris in Oxford County Superior Court. She faces five felony charges, two of manslaughter, two of aggravated criminal operating under the influence and one of leaving the scene of a fatal accident on Route 219 in West Paris.

Late in the afternoon and clutching a printout of Facebook comments, Howaniec asked Plummer if she harbored any “ill will” toward his client. She said no. Howaniec read one of Plummer’s Facebook posts that directed Lowe to stop lying, own up to what she did and accept whatever jail sentence she was given.

Then he read another post that said, “She deserves the worst. What a lying bitch,” and asked Plummer to explain what she meant.

“I feel she’s responsible,” Plummer said. “She killed two people.”

Mason and Dam were Plummer’s friends, and she was at the party with them on the night they died. She told Howaniec that “for us who were there and who know what happened, we’re going to be upset” that Lowe says she’s not guilty. And, Plummer said, since Mason and Dam are no longer alive, “We’re going to stick up for them.”

“Even if that means lying on the stand?” Howaniec asked.

“No,” Plummer said.

Howaniec questioned Plummer much more aggressively than he had any previous witness called to the stand by Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne, raising his voice to the point where Clifford leaned across the bench to signal him to tone it down.

Plummer testified that her younger sister and brother, Alicia and Nicholas, came to her apartment Jan. 6 after she came home from work. Alicia was 19 and Nicholas was 17. The three decided to go to Dam’s house and caught a ride with their friend, Mark Zeegers of Oxford, then 24, to attend what she called a “gathering.”

Dam lived at 12 Yeaton Lane in West Paris with Michael Henderson, Plummer said.

When they arrived, which Plummer said was around 8:30 p.m., there were a number of people there she did not know, including Lowe.

Lowe “was already drunk,” Plummer said, describing her as staggering around and drinking Jagermeister.

This testimony was in sharp contrast to all previous testimony by medical workers and police officers who said Lowe exhibited no sign of being intoxicated when she was being treated after the crash.

Others at the party started drinking at around 10:30 p.m., according to Plummer’s testimony, and Mason showed up after 11 p.m.

“She had her dad’s truck,” Plummer said, but Mason, of West Paris, wanted to take the truck back home before he saw it was missing “because she snuck out and was going to get a ride back.”

At some point after Mason arrived, Plummer said Lowe left the party and got into Dakota Larson’s car “even though people told her not to,” she testified. Minutes later, Lowe came back in after hitting a tree along the driveway. Plummer said she was “laughing and said she would tell her friend she hit a deer.”

“My brother Nick took her keys,” Plummer said, but Lowe got them back and went back outside with Jacob Skaff of South Paris, Mason and Dam.

“When they left, who was driving?” Beauchesne asked her.

“It was Kristina,” Plummer said.

She said that after about half an hour, people started calling Mason, Dam, Lowe and Skaff because they weren’t back yet.

“Becca didn’t live very far from where we were,” she said. “Jake and Kristina came in the house. Jake was covered with blood, and Kristina went straight to Logan’s room and laid on his bed.”

Plummer said Kristina “said she crashed the car” and “was reading a (text) message when she crashed.”

Plummer also said Jake told the party-goers, “We got out and ran.”

“We called the cops because we didn’t know what else to do,” Plummer testified.

She had made two statements to police — one on the night of the crash and a second, longer one several days later. The second statement had information about Plummer seeing Lowe drink and that Lowe said she had been texting and driving, which was not included in Plummer’s first statement.

Howaniec suggested she expounded her story in the days after the crash, but she said the first statement was shorter only because she wrote it when she was really upset about the death of her friends. The longer statement was written by Trooper Adam Fillebrown after an interview at her apartment.

Plummer also testified that she saw Lowe smoking a joint in the car with a guy she didn’t recognize before Lowe, Skaff and the two victims left the party. No reference to seeing Lowe with marijuana was in either of Plummer’s written statements, leading Howaniec to suggest Plummer changed her story to ensure Lowe would be punished.

Plummer insisted she told police about the pot, and had no explanation for why it wasn’t included in her statements.

The younger sister, Alicia Plummer, is expected to testify Monday.

What was said to police

Earlier in the day, two police officers, a nurse and an emergency medical technician all testified that Lowe told them she hadn’t been driving the car because “she was too drunk to drive.”

According to Tri-Town Rescue EMT Kevin Davis, Lowe said she was the belted front-seat passenger when the car crashed. Beauchesne asked him whether Lowe’s injuries were consistent with being the belted passenger, and Davis said he didn’t know because Lowe wouldn’t let him cut her shirt open to examine her.

“She told me she didn’t want her shirt cut,” Davis said. “She had just bought it the day before.”

Davis and Tri-Town driver Michael Record were called out at 12:46 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2012, to respond to a rollover accident in which four people were believed to have been injured. When he arrived, he testified, the front seats were empty.

When he looked in the back, he said a woman was the only one visible and “she was deceased.” Looking more closely, he saw Dam underneath Mason, and he saw that Dam was “clearly deceased.”

His frank responses to Beauchesne’s questions were followed by sounds of crying from Lowe and the victims’ family members and friends.

After he determined the teens were dead, Davis testified that he got a call to respond to 12 Yeaton Lane to treat another victim of this crash, and he left the accident scene to respond to what turned out to be a drinking party for teens and young adults.

As Tri-Town transported Lowe to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, Davis said he asked her several times if she had been driving.

“She admitted to me she was too drunk to drive, which is why she wasn’t driving,” he said.

Earlier in the day Friday, Erin Miragliuolo, a DNA forensic analyst with the Maine State Police Crime Lab, testified that of the seven blood samples she tested from the car, the blood taken from the exterior rear passenger door was Mason’s and the rest belonged to Skaff, whom police believe was Lowe’s front-seat passenger.

Most of Skaff’s blood, with the exception of a sample taken on the steering wheel column, was found in the front-seat passenger compartment.

Lowe talks about the crash

Lowe cried during much of Friday morning’s testimony, particularly when Beauchesne played an audio recording of her interview with State Trooper Lauren Edstrom while being treated in the critical care unit of Maine Medical Center in Portland.

On that tape, Lowe repeatedly told Edstrom that she had not been driving the car when it crashed. She also said she didn’t remember what happened, then later suggested that maybe she had been driving because she remembered buying gas as she, Skaff, Mason and Dam were returning to the party.

According to Lowe’s recorded statement, Dam wanted to leave the party to go for cigarettes. There were only two cars at the party, so there was a lot of discussion about who would drive, which car would go and who wanted to travel along.

In her taped explanation, Lowe told Edstrom that a car belonging to Dakota Larson of South Paris was at the house, but the 19-year-old couldn’t drive it because he’d had a recent operating under the influence stop. So Skaff offered to drive and they “hopped in the car,” Lowe said. She hadn’t wanted to drive because she’d had five shots of “Jager,” Lowe told Edstrom.

According to Lowe’s taped account, on the way back to the party, they stopped for cigarettes at a local gas station, where Lowe remembers getting gas. She never mentioned that they had picked Mason up at her house and she was now in the car.

Then, “I don’t know. Something happened. I don’t know what happened,” she said, starting to cry on the tape. Sitting at the defense table, Lowe was crying openly and being comforted by defense co-counsel Chelsea Peters.

Talking very fast on the tape, Lowe said that after the cigarette stop, “everything was good. Everything was fine. And then the next thing I know, Logan was reaching in the front and we were rolling.”

After the accident, she said, “I was stuck in the car. I looked back. It was completely crushed in,” she said, telling Edstrom she couldn’t see Mason and Dam. “I couldn’t see them, I couldn’t see them,” she said, crying.

At this point, several jurors turned to watch Mason and Dam’s families and friends, who were weeping and hugging each other.

On the tape, Lowe said she couldn’t get out of the passenger side, and remembered pushing Skaff out of the driver’s side before following him out of the car.

“We both lost our cellphones,” she said. “We sat there for about 10 minutes. There was no traffic. We decided to go back” to the party.

Edstrom asked her whether they walked back together, and she said they both walked back, but Skaff would not walk next to her.

When they got back to the party, “everyone was panicking when they saw us,” she said, and when they told the other party-goers that Dam didn’t get out of the car, “they all started freaking out and I went into the bathroom.” She said she later went to lie down in a back bedroom, which is where police found her.

Asked again whether she had been driving, Lowe told Edstrom she had not.

“So you’re telling me Jake was driving?” Edstrom asked.

“Yes,” Lowe said.

“Are you telling me the truth about who was driving?” Edstrom asked.

“Yes,” Lowe answered.

Edstrom told Lowe, “If you were driving, this is the time to tell me.” 

“I just don’t know,” she said, adding that maybe she and Skaff had switched seats when they stopped for gas.

On the tape, Lowe said she clearly remembered Skaff driving to the store, and I’m “80 percent sure he was driving on the way back.”

At this point, the prosecutor turned off the audio recording, but defense attorney James Howaniec asked the jury to listen to more of it during his cross-examination of Edstrom.

When the tape began, Edstrom could be heard asking Lowe once again if she had been driving, and she said, “There’s a decent chance I drove back after I got gas.”

“I have some bad news for you,” Edstrom told Lowe. “Logan and Becca died in the accident.”

After a brief moment of silence, Lowe could be heard crying, almost keening, before Peters turned off the recording. What was said after that has been suppressed by the Maine State Supreme Judicial Court because Edstrom had not read Lowe her Miranda warning.

Lowe’s father, Earl Lowe, is expected to testify for the prosecution next week. A former crash investigator for the Maine State Police, he became very vocal about warning teens of the dangers of texting and driving after Mason and Dam died.

Four months after the accident, Earl Lowe spoke at a Mountain Valley High School assembly and said his daughter’s decision to get behind the wheel that night resulted in permanent injuries that will be with her for the rest of her life.

“Peer pressure is what convinced my daughter to get behind the wheel that night,” he told students, urging them to call for a ride if they were drinking and to never text and drive.

A representative of Everyone Matters was in the courtroom Friday, part of the nonprofit group’s effort to monitor underage drinking trials across the Northeast to ensure states are working as hard as possible to prosecute these defendants.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Monday.

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