AUBURN — Prosecutors are seeking to have bail revoked for a former Lewiston man charged with manslaughter in the 2018 death of 38-year-old Donald Giusti near Kennedy Park in Lewiston.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Emmanuel Nkurunziza, 18, of Biddeford are hoping to persuade a judge that his bail conditions are too restrictive and should be loosened.

Emmanuel Nkurunziza, left, sits with his lawyer, Allan Lobozzo, at Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland in November. Christopher Williams/Sun Journal

A bail hearing is scheduled for next week in Augusta.

While awaiting trial, Nkurunziza was allowed by a judge to move from Lewiston to Biddeford to live with his parents and attend the public school there. He was ordered in September to wear an electronic ankle bracelet monitor and be supervised by Maine Pretrial Services.

According to court papers, a case manager for that organization wrote that Nkurunziza had failed to report to his supervisor’s office three times since September, most recently on Jan. 7. The terms of his agreement dictate that he report to his supervisor’s office every Tuesday between 3:20 and 3:45 p.m. or as directed.

Last month, he emailed his supervisor roughly an hour after he was due to report to her office to tell her he had forgotten to check in at the designated time and asked whether he could check in the next day instead, a case manager wrote in an affidavit. According to that document, Nkurunziza also had failed to report to his supervisor on Nov. 26, and Oct. 9 last year.

Nkurunziza filed a motion seeking to allow him more flexibility in coordinating his reporting to his supervisor with his school schedule. He also is hoping that the judge will lift the electronic monitoring requirement to better accommodate Nkurunziza’s school schedule that makes it difficult to keep the device charged. The conspicuous device also has made it difficult for him to apply for jobs, his lawyers have argued.

Nkurunziza was arrested in April 2018 and charged with manslaughter as a juvenile. An 8th District Court judge heard arguments in July whether the teen should be bound over from juvenile to adult court, ruling in September that he should be tried as an adult.

A grand jury indicted him in November on charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Nkurunziza turned 17 about a month before the June 12, 2018, nighttime melee on Knox Street when Giusti was apparently struck by a rock and knocked to the pavement. He died three days later from blunt-force trauma to his head and torso, according to a medical examiner. Witnesses said a group of largely Somali youth clashed that night with more than a dozen white men, including Giusti, who had congregated in Kennedy Park.

Police said Nkurunziza admitted to having thrown a rock but hadn’t seen where it landed. A witness has said he saw Nkurunziza throw the rock and saw it hit Giusti on the head. Two police officers who viewed videos of the scene that night identified Nkurunziza as the person who threw an object that appeared to have felled Giusti.

Nkurunziza’s parents had lived in downtown Lewiston, close to Giusti’s family, before moving to Biddeford.

A District Court judge had been reluctant to release the teen into his parents’ custody at that location, citing concerns for his and the community’s safety.

In October 2019, a Superior Court justice ruled that the teen be allowed to live with his parents in an apartment in Biddeford where he must continue to be supervised by an independent agency, wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and be confined to house arrest.

Nkurunziza’s lawyers had urged that justice to allow the teen to work and go to school outside the home and to drop the electronic monitoring requirement.

Prosecutors have continued to argue in favor of the monitoring.


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