AUBURN — A judge ruled Tuesday that a racial bias charge will be included with road rage charges at a single trial for a local man.

The attorney for Adam Getchell, 32, had filed a motion seeking to separate the charge.

But Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy ruled against Getchell, saying all of the charges, including two felonies and two misdemeanors, would be tried at the same time.

Kennedy also ruled in favor of prosecutors seeking to allow at trial racially charged statements laced with epithets uttered by Getchell that were picked up by a police camcorder. Kennedy, at an earlier hearing, had decided to limit those remarks that could be heard at trial.

“It all goes to weight and it all goes to fact and that’s for a jury to decide,” she said Tuesday.

Matthew Libby, Getchell’s attorney, argued Tuesday that his client’s “long rant with racially derogatory terms” could prejudice a jury against him on the driving-related charges.


“A jury’s going to have a hard time looking at this evidence and deciphering if the state has met its burden on the elements of the driving-related infractions from the evidence pertaining to the civil rights charges, which entails a number of derogatory and racial terms,” Libby said.

“What’s likely to happen is (that) they’ll look at this evidence collectively and they’ll say, ‘Well, he’s racist and potentially a bigot, and if he’s this type of guy, he’s likely reckless on the road.'”

Getchell’s remarks picked up by the police cruiser’s recording system after he was put in the cruiser aren’t relevant to the driving offenses, Libby said.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin disagreed.

She said Getchell’s racially charged statements are relevant to the driving charges because they help show what his intentions were at the time he was driving.

Libby said only one of the driving-related charges requires that he acted intentionally.


Being tried on all charges at a single trial puts Getchell’s right to testify in his own defense in jeopardy because he would be exposing himself to cross-examination by prosecutors about his racially charged remarks, Libby said.

“I think (Getchell’s) rights here have to trump any judicial economy,” Libby said.

Robbin said Getchell shouldn’t be protected from his own words that he spoke shortly after the driving infractions. Jurors have a right to hear them and decide for themselves whether they help show Getchell’s intentions.

Getchell, in the aftermath of a July 11, 2013, incident, was charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and aggravated criminal mischief, each punishable by up to five years in prison. A charge of driving to endanger is punishable by up to six months in jail.

He also was indicted on a charge of intentional interference with civil rights, punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail.

Kennedy said she would revisit at the beginning of Getchell’s trial the recording of his “diatribe” and review it again for possible prejudice.


According to prosecutors, Getchell drove a pickup truck on July 11, 2013, in front of a car driven by then-19-year-old Matthew Wooten on East Avenue in Lewiston on his way home.

Getchell sped past Wooten, then cut in front of his car repeatedly, according to a civil complaint filed by the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

The two continued over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge toward Auburn. Getchell pulled alongside Wooten and began throwing things, including what appeared to be tools and a bottle of perfume at Wooten, the complaint stated.

As Wooten attempted to pass to the right of Getchell, Getchell drove his truck into Wooten’s car, hitting it at the rear of the driver’s side, according to the complaint. Wooten struck his head from the impact.

Wooten called 911 on his cellphone and followed Getchell into a parking lot on Center Street. Getchell got out of his truck, carrying a club, and yelled, “I’ll fight you, n—–!” and used other racial epithets, the complaint said.

Getchell beat the front and trunk of Wooten’s car with the club. A police officer appeared as Getchell brandished the club. Getchell said Wooten had confronted him and he was trying to defend himself. He continued to use racial slurs as he spoke with the officer, the complaint said. He was arrested and taken away in a cruiser.

Wooten told police that Getchell mouthed, “I’m going to kill you,” as he was driven away.

Prosecutors are seeking a civil injunction against Getchell to prevent him from having any contact with Wooten.

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