AUBURN — A local man facing a murder charge stemming from a Walmart parking lot shooting last summer is seeking to move his trial out of Androscoggin County.

Gage Dalphonse, 22, of Auburn waits for his bail hearing to start in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn in January. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Attorneys for Gage Dalphonse, 22, filed a motion for change of venue, arguing that “widespread adverse publicity in the media and elsewhere in the community” have jeopardized his ability to receive a fair trial.

Also, a citizens’ group organized in Androscoggin County promoting “justice” for fatal shooting victim Jean Fournier, 41, of Turner has circulated bumper stickers promoting “#justiceforjean,” according to a motion filed in Androscoggin County Superior Court by defense attorneys James Howaniec and Jesse James Ian Archer.

Superior Court Justice William Stokes, who is presiding over Dalphonse’s case, wrote last week that he didn’t intend to rule on the motion until jury selection, which is scheduled to get underway June 8.

If Dalphonse wants to put any evidence on the record to support his motion, he must notify the court clerk before that date, Stokes wrote. In that case, the clerk may schedule a hearing during which that evidence could be presented to the judge.

Dalphonse is being held Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn without bail.

He had been seeking release after presenting new evidence last month at a bail hearing in an effort to show the defense hadn’t received all of the discovery it should have had in hand during an initial bail hearing in September.

But Stokes ruled against Dalphonse at the end of last month in a written order that said there hadn’t been “changed circumstances or the discovery of new and significant information to warrant any modification” to his earlier decision to deny Dalphonse bail.

Police said Dalphonse shot Fournier twice in the back on July 27, 2019, at the Walmart on Mt. Auburn Avenue after they saw each other in the parking lot and had a brief verbal exchange.

Some witnesses said Fournier slapped or punched Dalphonse in the mouth before the shooting.

Police said Dalphonse, who’d had a loaded handgun in a holster at the front of his pants leveraged his torso out of the driver’s side window of his car and, twisting to the left, shot Fournier as he was walking toward the back of Dalphonse’s car.

The argument apparently ensued after Dalphonse and Fournier’s girlfriend exchanged insults. Fournier then walked over to where Dalphonse had parked his car in the parking lot to confront Dalphonse, according to police.


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