LEWISTON — Already accused in the 2018 beating death of a man near Kennedy Park, 18-year-old Emmanuel Nkurunziza has been charged with assaulting an inmate at a youth corrections facility this month.

Few details were available about the fight. Nkurunziza’s attorney, Allen E. Lobozzo, described it in a court motion as “a racially charged incident.”

Nkurunziza was arraigned on the misdemeanor assault charge July 3 in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court. He was held at the Cumberland County Jail until July 5 when he was released on $500 bail and returned to Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

Nkurunziza is charged with manslaughter in the June 2018 beating death of Donald Giusti during what police described as a brawl in the streets.

Nkurunziza has been held at Long Creek since he was arrested in the Giusti case in April. In May, he turned 18 and now that he’s legally an adult, court officials would like to see him moved to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn.

“Representatives of Long Creek Youth Development Center have expressed concern to attorneys for the State that the juvenile’s continued detention at Long Creek Youth Development Center presents a risk to the safety of other residents at the facility,” Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea wrote in a motion to have Nkurunziza moved.

Lobozzo has filed a motion, asking that a detention hearing for Nkurunziza be expedited. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 8th District Court in Lewiston.

In his motion, Lobozzo agreed that Long Creek does not have the logistics or personnel to accommodate alleged victims and defendants being held in close quarters.

“At a visit over the weekend,” Lobozzo wrote, “Emmanuel was being held in maximum security. For a visit, his hands were shackled to a belt around his waist so he could not even shake hands comfortably. The status for a young man just turned 18 years of age (who has made bail on the assault charge) is onerous, excessive and unnecessary.”

Lobozzo had been hoping to see his client released on bail on the manslaughter charge once his parents have settled their housing issues. According to his motion, Nkurunziza’s parents expect to be accepted for housing soon at Pleasant View Acres in Lewiston.

On the manslaughter charge, Nkurunziza was arrested in April after a police investigation that spanned nearly a year. Two others, a 13-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man, were also charged in the death of Giusti, but each on the lesser charge of assault.

Giusti, 38, died June 15, 2018, at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, three days after he was beaten on Knox Street.

Police said Nkurunziza had admitted to throwing a rock into a crowd during a nighttime melee on Knox Street that is believed to have struck Giusti in the head. Nkurunziza reportedly told police he had not seen where his rock landed. A witness, however, told police he had seen the rock when it was thrown and when it landed.

A medical examiner determined the cause of Giusti’s death to be blunt-force trauma that included two “significant areas” of trauma to Giusti’s head and brain.

In a hearing at the end of May, a judge had ordered Nkurunziza held at Long Creek until a less-restrictive alternative placement option could be found.

The question of whether Nkurunziza should stay at Long Creek, be moved to the county jail in Auburn or freed pending trial is expected to be discussed at the Thursday hearing.

 

Already charged with manslaughter in the 2018 beating death of a man near Kennedy Park, 18-year-old Emmanuel Nkurunziza has now been charged with assaulting another inmate at a juvenile correction facility.


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