AUBURN — A judge has denied bail for a local man charged with murder stemming from a July shooting at the local Walmart.

Gage Dalphonse of Auburn is led into Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn by deputies in August. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Justice William Stokes ordered Gage Dalphonse, 21, of 47 Crest Ave. held without bail pending trial in the shooting death of Jean Fournier, 41, of Turner on July 27 in the parking lot of Walmart on Mount Auburn Avenue.

In his 6-page order filed Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court, Stokes wrote that probable cause exists to believe Dalphonse committed the crime, formerly a death penalty offense, which means Dalphonse isn’t entitled to bail.

Stokes wrote that he based his conclusion on evidence presented at a Sept. 6 hearing, including the fact that Dalphonse fired his handgun twice while leaning and likely twisting the upper half of his body out the window of his parked car, fired at Fournier as he was retreating and shot him twice in the back.

“The defendant made the decision to use deadly force very rapidly and there was no evidence suggesting that he made any effort to resort to less-than-deadly force as a response to Mr. Fournier,” Stokes wrote.

Some witnesses heard Fournier exclaim: “Gun, run!” But it’s unknown whether Dalphonse heard those words, Stokes said.

The law gives a judge discretion to allow bail despite probable cause in a formerly capital case if the state hasn’t shown by clear and convincing evidence that there’s a “substantial” risk the defendant won’t appear in court, will pose a risk to the integrity of the judicial process, will pose a danger to another person or to the community or will commit new crimes.

While considering that possibility, Stokes wrote that facts surrounding an earlier reckless conduct conviction “are very troubling.”

On June 20, 2018, after arguing with a group of people, Dalphonse reportedly fired a pellet gun repeatedly from his car at them and struck someone in the arm and finger. He pleaded guilty to the charge in February.

Looking at all the evidence, Stokes wrote that Dalphonse poses a danger to the community and of committing new crimes.

“It is significant because it tends to show that the defendant is immature and impulsive while armed with a weapon and when involved in a confrontation with others,” Stokes wrote.

Other factors that weigh against allowing bail include Dalphonse’s: “apparent relationship with firearms and firearm-like weapons; the fact that he fully loaded his Glock 9 mm (handgun) and made sure a round was in the chamber, meaning the gun was ready to fire in an instant; the fact that (Dalphonse) immediately escalated the confrontation with Fournier to the level of deadly force in a relatively full parking lot;” and “the fact that the evidence might support the conclusion that (Dalphonse) shot Mr. Fournier out of anger.”

Several witnesses told police that Fournier’s girlfriend had called Dalphonse a “little bitch” as he drove through the Walmart parking lot shortly before 7 p.m. July 27. He retorted, calling her a “whore.”

Witnesses said Fournier followed the direction of Dalphonse’s car, which eventually parked in the lot. Fournier walked up to the open driver’s side window and talked to Dalphonse.

Dalphonse and his passenger, Defghan Zitsch, said Fournier struck Dalphonse, Zitch calling it a slap, Dalphonse, a punch.

A witness parked across the median from Dalphonse said he never saw Fournier strike Dalphonse, who appeared agitated, while Fournier appeared composed, police said.

Dalphonse told police in an interview that Fournier told him to apologize to his girlfriend. Dalphonse said he wouldn’t, but would apologize to Fournier. He said he felt threatened by Fournier, who told him he was going to “f****** kill” him.

Dalphonse told police Fournier started to reach into his car, so Dalphonse reached for his handgun, which he carried in a holster at the front of his pants. He said he grabbed his gun and shot two rounds from his window at Fournier.

After the shooting, Fournier was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where he was pronounced dead.

Dalphonse was arrested July 31.


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