FARMINGTON — A former Wilton man accused of fatally shooting a New Sharon man June 1, 2016, in Wilton will be retried on a murder charge in April at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

Justice William Stokes declared a mistrial  Oct. 2, 2017, after a Franklin County jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the murder charge against Timothy Danforth, 26, now of Jay. The decision followed a six-day trial at the Franklin County Courthouse.

The state claims the shooting death is a case of intentional or knowing murder; the defense claims it was self-defense.

Danforth is accused of shooting Michael Reis, 24, of New Sharon three times with a shotgun loaded with birdshot outside of his father’s home on Weld Road in Wilton.

Stokes who is specially assigned to the case, ordered the change of venue on Tuesday to Kennebec County, according to a Franklin County court document.

Jury selection is slated for April 5 and 6, if necessary, and a trial is set to start on April 9, Maine Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis wrote in an email. Ellis will again prosecute the case for the state.

Defense attorneys Sarah Glynn of Oxford Hills Law and Jeffrey Wilson of Braun & Wilson, both located in South Paris, will continue as co-counsel to defend Danforth.

“The change of venue was discussed jointly with the court, assistant attorney general, and defense team. The court made the decision,” Glynn wrote in an email.

An unpaid debt for a $200 bag of marijuana owed by a Wilton man to Danforth’s father, Robert Danforth, and a “war of texts” began a chain of events that led to the death of Reis, according to testimony at the trial.

Reis was part of a group who went to a Weld Street house the evening of May 31, 2016, and got into a confrontation with the home’s occupants, who included Danforth and his father, police previously said. Following the shooting, friends of Reis rushed him to a Farmington hospital where he was pronounced dead early June 1.

During the first day of the trial Sept. 25, Danforth rejected the state’s offer of a lesser charge of manslaughter before the jury entered the courtroom, Stokes said then.

The state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Mark Flomenbaum testified during the trial that the first shot grazed Reis’ foot, the second one ripped through an artery in his right thigh before exiting, and the final and fatal shot caused a penetrating wound to the right chest after it entered his body through the top of his shoulder.

The petals on the plastic cup that holds the birdshot pellets and keeps them separated from the gunpowder in a shotgun shell opened and traveled into the body, he said then.

In Glynn’s opening statement, she told the jury: “You will be asked to decide if Tim Danforth committed the crime of murder. No, he did not. We will present a case of self-defense — defense of property and defense of family.”

A conviction on a murder charge is punishable by a minimum 25 years in prison to a maximum of life in prison.

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Timothy Danforth, 26, of Jay is scheduled to be retried on a murder charge in April at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. The first trial ended in a hung jury Oct. 2, 2017, at the Franklin County Courthouse in Farmington. (Sun Journal File Photo) 


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