AUBURN — A Lewiston man facing a murder charge stemming from the fatal shooting of a Lewiston woman in her driveway last summer is seeking to have his trial moved to a different county.

Jaquille Coleman Submitted photo

Jaquille Jakeem Coleman, 26, of 37 Union St. claims in a motion filed by Lewiston attorney Verne Paradie that pretrial publicity generated by the slaying has “significantly prejudiced” Coleman to the point where he wouldn’t be able to receive a fair jury trial in an Androscoggin County court.

In his motion, Coleman cites an August Sun Journal news story about the incident in which his criminal history is detailed.

The story includes comments from the victim’s family who described Coleman as “an abusive boyfriend from whom Natasha (Morgan) had been trying to escape.” The story continued to say that the couple’s baby had reportedly been in the home outside which the shooting occurred, according to the motion.

In a subsequent news story in the Sun Journal, Coleman was considered to be “armed and dangerous” while he was on the lam.

The motion includes comments from readers of the stories and suggests they express racist sentiments. One comment pointed out the disparity in reader reaction to stories written about local murder defendants who are white compared to Black defendants charged with the same crime.

The motion references a television station that covered the shooting and reported that the victim had been “shot and killed by her estranged boyfriend” and that she had been “trying to get out of an abusive relationship” with him.

“Not only does the story portray Mr. Coleman as domestically violent, but also actually states that Coleman did shoot and kill Morgan,” the motion says.

Coleman is seeking to have his trial moved to courtrooms in Cumberland, Penobscot or York counties “given the significant pretrial publicity, as well as the racial sentiment in Androscoggin County,” according to the motion.

A hearing is scheduled in November on the motion. Coleman also is expected to be arraigned at that time on a charge of internal or knowing murder.

If convicted of the charge, Coleman would face from 25 years to life in prison.

Investigators concluded Coleman fatally shot 19-year-old Morgan twice in the chest in the driveway of her Scribner Boulevard home in Lewiston on Aug. 21.

After the shooting, Coleman reportedly fled the state, but was later arrested in Mississippi and brought back to Maine. He is being held without bail at Androscoggin County Jail.

An Androscoggin County grand jury indicted Coleman on the murder charge earlier this month.

Neighbors reported hearing three to five shots ring out in front of a home at 175 Scribner Blvd. in the afternoon of Aug. 21. Witnesses told investigators they heard a woman’s scream afterward.

When police and rescue crews arrived, they found Morgan on the ground near the driveway, bleeding from two gunshot wounds. She was the mother of a baby girl.

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