Jim Thompson, the uncle of Donald Giusti, urges peace in Kennedy Park in a vigil held last summer in Lewiston. Sun Journal file photo

LEWISTON — The family of Donald Giusti were satisfied to learn that a trio of suspects had been arrested in the 38-year-old’s beating death last August.

Their satisfaction, though, was far from complete.

“We’re happy with the arrests,” said Jim Thompson, Giusti’s uncle and a family spokesman. “Not so much with the charges.”

One of the suspects was arrested on a manslaughter charge Thursday morning. The other two were charged with assault.

It was the latter two that troubled Thompson and his family.

“We feel those should be aggravated assault, not simple assault,” Thompson said. “They committed felonies.”


The oldest of the suspects is 23. Another is 18 and the youngest is 13. According to Thompson, the ages don’t matter much when you get right down to it.

“These are just babies, but they made mistakes,” Thompson said. “They still have to pay for their mistakes, like everybody else.”

The three suspects were arrested early Thursday, two in downtown Lewiston, a third in Limestone.

The arrests were made after 10 months of investigation by Lewiston and Maine State Police. Many, including Giusti’s family, had complained about the lack of charges in a death that sparked racial tensions in downtown Lewiston.

Now that charges were filed, the Giusti family had mixed emotions.

“As a Christian family, we forgive the sinners but not the sin,” Thompson said. “Closure, for my family, would be for them to get as much time as possible. But that’s not going to bring back Donnie.”


While the death was being investigated, several family members had urged peace between locals and the Somali community, the two groups said to be at the center of frequent disputes in and around Kennedy Park.

For the past 10 months, Thompson and other families have met often with leaders of local immigration groups in an attempt to help quiet racial tensions.

“We’re together on this,” Thompson said. “We are. The Somali community has been great about it.”

Thompson also commended the police for their investigation.

“They did a great job, considering all the people involved, the language barrier and all that,” he said.

However, he said, he and other family members would still like to speak to the prosecutor about why assault charges were filed instead of aggravated assault.

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