LEWISTON — A transient admitted to assault Monday stemming from a melee near Kennedy Park last year that led to the death of a 38-year-old local man.

Timothy Lamothe

An 8th District Court judge sentenced Timothy Lamothe, 27, who pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to seven days in jail, which he has already served. The Class D misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

Lamothe was one of four people charged in the Knox Street brawl on June 12, 2018, that led to the death of 38-year-old Donald Giusti.

Police said Lamothe used a metal pipe to knock a 17-year-old boy unconscious.

A grand jury indicted Lamothe on a felony charge of aggravated assault, a Class B crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. But Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea told a judge Monday that she amended that charge.

Lamothe also was fined $300 for the assault.

According to a police affidavit, Lamothe was seen on a street surveillance camera entering Knox Street from Kennedy Park that night.

“It appears he is following a large group of black males,” according to an affidavit. “At one point, he disappears into a dark alleyway with several black males. By Lamothe’s body language and the way that he is following these black males, it appears Lamothe is instigating a fight.”

A witness told police that Lamothe had been a friend of Giusti and another man who were part of a large group of people who would gather in the park regularly.

According to witness accounts, as many as 30 Somali and Congolese people clashed with roughly 15 white people at Knox and Spruce streets on the night of June 12. Police arrived at the scene at about 10:45 p.m., while the fight was in progress.

Giusti was found by police lying on Knox Street, blood seeping from his head. He died three days later at a Lewiston hospital from blunt force trauma to his head.

David Tuyishime, now 18, told police he had fought that night with a man who wore a Miami Heat shirt to gain control over a “black pole.” Police said Lamothe wore a Miami Heat tank top shirt that night.

Lamothe told investigators that a pair of Somali males tried to hit him with a pipe, but he grabbed it and tried to beat one of them with it, according to the affidavit. When police arrived at the scene, they told him to drop the pipe, which he did, he said.

Tuyishime’s older brother, Pierre Musafiri, 23, told police he had been in his apartment when he saw the fight break out on the street. He said he saw his brother fighting with a “big guy over a stick.” When Musafiri later reached for the stick, “the guy punched him,” he said. He believed he returned the man’s punch shortly before police arrived.

Tuyishime told a police detective that he was taken to the hospital because he’d been struck with a bat by a man wearing a Miami Heat shirt. He later told the detective that he’d been knocked unconscious by the man wielding the bat. After he regained consciousness, he and his brother, Musafiri, had fought with the same man who had hit him with the bat.

Musafiri was later charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly kicking Giusti while he lay badly injured in the street.

Musafiri, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge, has been free on $500 cash bail since shortly after his arrest. His case is scheduled for trial in October.

Two minors, who were 13 and 17 years old at the time of the incident, have also been charged in the case. The older boy, Emmanuel Nkurunziza, now 18, faces a manslaughter charge for allegedly throwing a rock that dealt Giusti a fatal blow when it hit him in the head.

A judge is considering whether Nkurunziza should be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

Nkurunziza is under house arrest with a couple who live outside of Lewiston and are friends with his family.

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