AUBURN — A jury convicted a Lewiston man Thursday of murder in the 2020 shooting death of a 19-year-old Lewiston woman who was the mother of his young child.

Jaquille J. Coleman, 28, nodded slowly when the forewoman of the jury of 10 men and two women pronounced a guilty verdict after less than an hour of deliberation.

On the fourth day of the trial in Androscoggin County Superior Court, Assistant Attorney General Megan Elam told the jury that the victim, Natasha Morgan had been afraid of Coleman before he fatally shot her.

She and her friend had come up with a “safe word” that Morgan could use if she was being threatened so her friend would know to call police, Elam said.

Jaquille Coleman takes a seat Monday at the Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn. Colman was convicted Thursday of the intentional or knowing murder of 19-year-old Natasha Morgan on Aug. 21, 2020. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file

Morgan had planned to move out of the apartment she shared with Coleman and told him the night before she was killed that she was leaving him, Elam said.

On Aug. 21, 2020, Coleman shot Morgan four times in the driveway of her mother’s home just a few feet from where her mother and their 1-year-old baby daughter were sitting in a car, according to Elam.


Her mother would describe at trial as an eye witness the murder of her daughter.

Dr. Kristin Sweeney, of the Maine Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, told the jury Thursday that Morgan had died from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.

She described each of the four entrance wounds and their four exits and the trajectory they took through Morgan’s body.

Elam said after the verdict: “We’re very happy on behalf of Natasha Morgan’s family that Jaquille Coleman was found guilty today. It’s a tragic situation when victims of domestic violence become the ultimate victims of homicide. But we’re gratified by the jury’s verdict.”

Verne Paradie, Coleman’s attorney, said he planned to appeal the conviction.

Morgan’s mother, Liza, testified the first day of the trial that she had driven her daughter to her home on Scribner Boulevard after work to pick up Morgan’s daughter, Valentina.


A photo of Natasha Morgan shared on Facebook by her family. Morgan was killed in Lewiston in 2020. Submitted photo

Natasha Morgan had agreed to let Coleman pick up their daughter from daycare and bring her to the house.

With his car parked next to Liza Morgan’s in her driveway, Natasha Morgan and Coleman talked while standing in the driveway for more than half-an-hour while Liza Morgan sat in her car with Valentina.

Then she heard a pop, turned in the direction of the sound, and saw Coleman sitting in the driver’s seat of his car, the window down, leaning out of his car, his arm extended holding a gun and firing it three more times back in the direction of where her daughter had been standing, she testified.

She jumped from her car, repeatedly yelling, “He shot her.”

Liza Morgan sprinted to where her daughter was lying on the ground on her side.

She started to charge Coleman, who then pulled the gun on her, she said. She ducked and turned; Coleman fled the scene in his car, she testified.


“The only people in that driveway were Natasha, Liza, baby Valentina and Coleman,” Elam said.

“Well, Natasha didn’t shoot herself. Liza didn’t shoot her daughter. Valentina surely didn’t shoot her mother. The man with the gun — the defendant — the one shooting at Natasha, he’s the one who shot Natasha,” Elam said.

Two shell casings were recovered at the scene. One of the other casings was found in the cup holder of Coleman’s car, the other at the base of the windshield where the windshield wipers rest.

All of the casings and bullets that were recovered matched a single gun, Elam said.

The defense had sought to introduce an alternative suspect, Coleman’s girlfriend, Emily Staples. A judge wouldn’t allow him to present evidence at trial to support that theory.

She and Coleman were located together in Mississippi five days after the shooting.


Paradie told the jury that Liza Morgan had sent a message on Facebook to someone later, saying Coleman had run away with his “side bitch.”

Paradie told the jury at the close of the trial that Coleman had never sent threatening messages to Morgan and, during their long discussion in the driveway shortly before the shooting, hadn’t raised his voice.

Why does a man kill his baby’s mother, in front of her mother, a witness, in front of (his) own child?” Paradie asked the jury. “And who had no intention, that you have heard in evidence, of killing her. No threats, No jealousy.”

Elam had told the jury it was difficult to make sense of the tragic event.

Paradie said he shared that view.

But Justice Thomas McKeon, during his instructions to the jury, said prosecutors weren’t required to prove a motive nor premeditation.

Paradie told the jury the defense had no burden to present evidence that his client didn’t commit the crime of murder or that someone else did.

Coleman faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Sentencing has not been scheduled.

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