AUGUSTA — A 26-year-old Jay man whose murder trial ended in a hung jury pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter in a fatal shooting over a drug debt in 2016.

Timothy S. Danforth’s case was moved to Kennebec County after a mistrial was declared in Franklin County in Farmington last fall.

Danforth charged with shooting Michael Reis, 24, of New Sharon at the home of Danforth’s father, Robert, at 259 Weld Road in Wilton on May 31, 2016. Timothy Danforth resided there at the time.

Reis was rushed to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington where he was pronounced dead June 1.

At Monday’s plea hearing in the Captial Judicial Center was watched by about 20 people, including family members and friends of Reis and Timothy Danforth.

Sentencing will be April 18, when the defense will argue for fewer than six years in prison.

At the murder trial, defense attorneys Sarah Glynn and Jeffrey Wilson, both of Paris, argued that the shooting was in self-defense and defense of others and of property. Danforth did not testify.

The state prosecutor was Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis.

Reis was with half a dozen people who went to Robert Danforth’s rented trailer regarding $200 owed to Robert Danforth by an 18-year-old from Wilton for marijuana.

The defense said the people had brought a baseball bat, golf clubs, wrenches and brass knuckles with them.

In a motion filed with the court, defense attorney Wilson wrote that Reis had “rushed from the blind side of the trailer and attacked the Danforths as they stood on their front porch. Mr. Reis did not stop his attack even after Mr. Danforth tried to stop Mr. Reis with shotgun shots to Mr. Reis’ foot and knee. The only thing that stopped Mr. Reis was a shot to the shoulder. Mr. Reis died from loss of blood on the way to the hospital.”

After the trial, the judge agreed that lawyers could send jurors a letter asking, among other things, about the 11-1 deadlock cited in two notes addressed to the court. It asked “whether the 11 votes were for murder, manslaughter or not guilty, and whether the one vote was for murder, manslaughter or not guilty. The results of that survey were to be kept confidential.

A new trial was scheduled in Kennebec County, with jury selection to take place this week.

Before his murder trial, Danforth was offered a chance to plead guilty to manslaughter.

Timothy Danforth (Sun Journal file photo)


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