Trai Larue, charged with murdering a man Wednesday in the parking lot of McDonald’s restaurant in Auburn, appeared virtually for his initial appearance Friday in Lewiston District Court. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — A judge ordered Friday that a local man charged with murder in the Wednesday death of a Massachusetts man in the parking lot of an Auburn McDonald’s restaurant be held without bail.

Trai M. Larue, 22, of 146 Pierce St. appeared by videoconference in 8th District Court on the charge.

Justice Valerie Stanfill told Larue he faces 25 years to life if convicted.

Larue didn’t enter a plea to the charge because a grand jury must hand up an indictment in a murder case for it to proceed to trial.

In a complaint filed Friday by the Office of the Attorney General, Larue was charged with “intentionally or knowingly” causing the death of Roger Cornell, 21, of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Auburn attorney Justin Leary was appointed by the court to defend Larue.

He and Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea asked for a so-called “harnish hearing,” which is a hearing to determine bail and probable cause on a charge that had at one time been a capital crime in Maine.

Leary asked the judge to delay scheduling that hearing until he has had a chance to receive more evidence from prosecutors in the case.

The judge agreed.

Meanwhile, Larue will be held at Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn without bail.

Leary said he wasn’t contesting Friday that there was probable cause to hold Larue on the charge, a finding Justice Stanfill made during the court hearing based on a police affidavit that was sealed from the public view.

A harnish hearing is likely to be held later this month, Stanfill said.

Cornell’s body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta for an autopsy Thursday.

At a Thursday news conference, Maine State Police Lt. Mark Holmquist told reporters the autopsy should reveal what weapons were involved in the altercation that caused Cornell’s death.

He said the victim and suspect had known each other.

Leading up to the altercation, Cornell had been walking along the side of the street; Larue and others were in a vehicle.

“The people in the car saw it as an opportunity to confront” Cornell, Holmquist said.

He said police have identified everyone involved in the incident and are still exploring what led to the confrontation. Other charges may be coming, he said.

Two people called 911: a customer at the restaurant and a pedestrian, he said. It was reported as a “fight in progress,” Auburn police Chief Jason Moen said.

Cornell was unresponsive at the scene of the incident, where responding officers administered first aid. He was taken to Central Maine Medical Center, where he later died.

Before police arrived, multiple people had fled the scene in a vehicle, police said.

Larue’s criminal history includes two theft convictions: a misdemeanor in 2016; and a felony in 2017, after which he violated the terms of his probation, according to Maine State Bureau of Identification records. Two years later, he was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence assault.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.