An image of the Gardiner baseball field that was submitted as evidence during the trial of Dylan Ketcham, 23, on murder and attempted murder charges, at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy sent the jury home Wednesday after the courthouse experienced a major technical failure that prevented proceedings from being electronically recorded and blocked lawyers’ ability to show evidence on monitors. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — The murder trial of a man accused of shooting and killing one former friend and attacking another with a machete in Gardiner came to a halt Wednesday after the Capital Judicial Center’s courtroom video and recording system crashed.

Dylan Ketcham, 23, is on trial on charges of murder, attempted murder and elevated aggravated assault stemming from the January 2020 incident.

Ketcham is accused of shooting Jordan Johnson in the head and attacking Caleb Trudeau with a machete. Johnson died days later and Trudeau was left with disabilities and potentially lifelong injuries, officials said.

Ketcham’s lawyer has said the Gardiner man acted in self-defense.

Courthouse technical problems prompted Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy to send the jury home for the day Wednesday morning. Murphy expressed frustration with the current system and with not being able to get it fixed in time to allow the trial to move forward Wednesday.

Murphy said one reason the problem could not be fixed Wednesday was “the people that handle this technology are in Massachusetts and they can’t fix it today.”


She said the problem appeared to be a major technical failure, which took down the ability to electronically record court proceedings and for lawyers to show photographs of evidence and crime scene videos on monitors, as they had numerous times previously in the trial.

The problem affected at least the two courtrooms equipped to hold jury trials at the Capital Judicial Center at 1 Court St. in Augusta. Further information on how widespread the problem could be was not available Wednesday.

“We’re going to be working hard to fix this system and make this a fair process for both sides,” Murphy told jurors before they were dismissed for the day Wednesday morning. “This is not the first time this has happened. And we’re trying to convince people we need a new system. Because we simply do.”

Murphy said it was fortunate the court at least still had a court reporter on hand Wednesday, who, with her stenotype machine, documented the proceedings that were able to take place in the trial without the benefit of higher technology.

Action in the case Wednesday included Ketcham saying he did not plan to testify in his own defense during the trial.

“I’m not doing it, your honor,” Ketcham said after Murphy asked what he had decided regarding taking the stand.


Ketcham said he understood he had the right to testify.

Murphy said she would instruct jury members they should not make any conclusions about Ketcham’s decision not to testify when they deliberate the case.

Ketcham’s lead lawyer, Stephen Smith, said in court there were ongoing discussions between the defense and state prosecutors about a potential plea deal in the case, but those discussions had not yet resulted in an agreement.

Prosecutor Meg Elam, an assistant attorney general, said Wednesday morning the state rested its case.

The trial is expected to resume Thursday morning. Murphy told jurors she anticipated any remaining witness testimony in the case, which would be from defense witnesses, would wrap up Thursday, and the case could go to jurors for their deliberations by the end of the day. Murphy warned jurors, however, that with a winter storm expected late Wednesday and Thursday, there is a chance the trial could be postponed again due to weather. The trial has already been postponed twice due to snowstorms.

Murphy said information technology workers tried to reboot the system Wednesday morning, but that did not fix the problem. She said officials would work on an alternative system to move forward with the trial and still be able to show jurors exhibits that have been entered as evidence, if needed.

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