AUBURN — A Wales man awaiting trial on a manslaughter charge is being held without bail pending a hearing on accusations that he drank alcohol and shot guns in violation of bail conditions.

Christopher Austin, 43, is facing charges of manslaughter and discharging a firearm near a dwelling, stemming from a hunting accident on Nov. 20, 2012.

He pleaded not guilty to an Androscoggin County grand jury indictment handed up in 2013.

He had been free on $5,000 cash bail until December, when he was charged with eight counts of gross sexual assault, unrelated to the earlier charges.

Assistant Attorney General John Alsop filed a motion to revoke Austin’s bail in the manslaughter case, arguing Austin violated bail conditions by having and using alcohol and firearms “on a regular basis” since his 2013 arraignment.

Alsop cited a sworn affidavit by Game Warden Peter Herring, who wrote that he became aware of the violations from investigators involved in bringing the sexual assault charges against Austin in December.


In his affidavit, Herring wrote that one family member said Austin had been drinking alcohol excessively and carrying several firearms, including rifles and handguns. He said Austin had become so drunk one time during the past summer that he “passed out in a ditch” and had to be taken to the Togus VA Medical Center. The family member said Austin would “do shots” and carry nonalcoholic beer bottles with him in an effort to disguise the fact that he was drinking alcohol. The family member also told Herring that Austin regularly carried a pistol and semiautomatic rifles.

Another family member told Herring that Austin would routinely drink “nippers,” miniature bottles of liquor that he would buy at the South Monmouth Market. He would drink them while working on his guns in his basement, the family member told Herring.

Three workers at the store told Herring that, several times a day, Austin would buy the “nippers,” then pour them into his coffee, which he also bought at the store.

A third family member told Herring that Austin would become drunk at his home and shoot his guns. Once, while inebriated, he stood at the back of his house with the door open, shooting in the backyard, the family member told Herring, according to his affidavit.

When he was initially released on bail, Austin moved his gun collection to his parents’ home, where he would work on the guns and shoot them, a family member said.

At the time of the hunting accident, Austin had a six-pack of nonalcoholic beer in the back of his pickup truck, Herring wrote in his affidavit. Four hours after the shooting, Austin’s blood-alcohol level was .02 percent. A state chemist estimated that at the time of the shooting, Austin’s blood-alcohol level would have been somewhere between .06 percent and .12 percent, Herring wrote.


No date has been scheduled for the hearing.

A lawsuit alleging wrongful death filed in Androscoggin County Superior Court against Austin by the family of shooting victim Gerard Parent is pending.

Austin caused the death “recklessly or with criminal negligence,” according to the indictment. Austin also was charged with discharging his Remington 700, a .308-caliber rifle, within 100 yards of a building or residential building without the property owner’s permission.

According to the Maine Warden Service, Parent and Austin were shooting at the same deer in an area between East Road and Route 126. According to investigators, both were hunting with rifles. A preliminary investigation revealed that Austin fired two shots and Parent fired one. Austin’s second shot struck Parent and killed him, according to Cpl. John MacDonald.

The incident was reported at 4:19 p.m. on Nov. 20, shortly before the end of the hunting day.

According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, Parent died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

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