Clifford “CJ” Warren, the victim’s brother, surges at convicted killer Jason Servil during Servil’s sentencing hearing Friday in Skowhegan. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — A sentencing hearing for a 20-year-old man who pleaded guilty to murder turned to a courtroom melee Friday as a family member of the victim leaped across a barrier to attack the convicted killer.

Jason Servil, 20, is seen during his sentencing hearing for the murder of Alice Abbott on Friday in Skowhegan. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen had just handed down a sentence of 45 years to Jason Servil in connection with the murder of Alice Abbott in July 2022, when Jeremy Pratt, Servil’s attorney, asked to have a conversation with the judge.

As Pratt, another defense attorney and the state prosecutor approached the bench, Clifford Warren, the brother of the victim, surged from his seat in the gallery over the railing — known as the bar — and across about 20 feet to attack Servil. Warren was stopped by a county corrections officer, who deployed a stun gun, and was later escorted away in handcuffs.

Alice Abbott Contributed photo

Some of Abbott’s family members, including Abbott’s mother, who is also named Alice Abbott, attended Friday’s sentencing. Just as the brawl broke out, some of them shouted and also tried to reach Servil, but they were stopped by court marshals, a county corrections officer and a Maine State Police officer who had been sitting with the state prosecutors. Shouting at Servil included “he deserves to die,” “he should get stabbed,“ and a racial epithet.

“Unlike anything I have ever seen,” Assistant Attorney General Bud Ellis said, noting that he has been in courtrooms since 1985.

Pratt, who said his co-counsel was squashed between people, her chair, and the bar, said later in an interview he was disappointed in the court’s reaction to the assault.


“It’s the court’s responsibility,” Pratt said via telephone as he drove home from court. “They’ve got to protect the defendant. They’ve got to protect the defense counsel. It’s unacceptable for this to happen.”

“There wasn’t enough people to take care of the situation,” Pratt continued. “It should never happen again.”

Ellis, the assistant attorney general prosecuting the case, said the attack likely had nothing to do with the attorneys’ sidebar conversation with Mullen, but rather was due to “unfortunate dissatisfaction.”


Friday’s incident in Somerset County Superior Court came after a sentencing hearing that lasted more than an hour and a half, as prosecutors, defense attorneys, and family members of both Servil and Abbott made arguments for varying sentences. Murder carries a sentence of 25 years to life, according to state statute.

On July 16, 2022, Servil was arrested after Skowhegan police responded to a report of an assault at 912 Canaan Road. When they arrived they found Abbott’s body, an injured man from Madison who reported the attack, and another person.


Following an investigation, Servil was arrested later that day and Abbott’s death was ruled a homicide the next day; she had been stabbed multiple times and died from blood loss, according to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

Prosecutors said in court Friday that Abbott was found with 99 stab wounds across her body. When police located Servil, he admitted to the murder and the assault of Nick Rice, who was at the home with Abbott at the time, prosecutors said.

Servil and Abbott had a brief relationship and Abbott told him she wanted to end it before the murder, prosecutors said.

Servil, who was later indicted on intentional or knowing or depraved murder and aggravated assault, was held without bail. He initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea in January.

Ellis asked Mullen to impose a sentence of 45 years for the murder charge, and a concurrent 10-year sentence for a charge of aggravated assault.

Jason Servil, 20, is sentenced in Skowhegan court Friday to 45 years in prison for the murder of Alice Abbott. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Three family members who spoke on Abbott’s behalf asked for life imprisonment, the maximum sentence under Maine law. Abbott’s mother said that prosecutors did not consult the family about their proposed 45-year sentence aside from one conversation.


Defense attorneys and two family members who spoke on Servil’s behalf said he struggled during most of his life with mental health issues, which was confirmed by multiple doctors, according to defense attorney Pratt.

Pratt asked Mullen to impose a 30-year sentence for the murder charge followed by a 10-year sentence for the aggravated assault, with probation allowed on the 10-year sentence.

Servil also read a statement to the courtroom in which he apologized for his actions and their impact on Abbott’s family, the community, and law enforcement.


Mullen ultimately decided on a 45-year sentence for the murder charge. He also sentenced Servil to 10 years in prison, concurrent with the murder sentence, for the assault of Nick Rice, who was at Abbott’s home and assaulted by Servil before Servil murdered Abbott.

As Mullen read the sentence, and explained his analysis in reaching it, there were some rumblings from Abbott’s family members. But there was little indication that anyone would turn to physical violence.


Family members of both Servil and Abbott cried throughout the hearing.

Warren, the man who attacked Servil, had stood up and offered Servil’s mother tissues as she returned to her seat after reading a statement to the court.

Once Abbott’s family and friends left the courtroom and Warren was escorted away in handcuffs, chairs were seen knocked over and paperwork left on desks as Skowhegan police officers arrived on scene and documented it.

Court marshals said the next sentencing hearing in the courtroom was to be held as scheduled but that Servil’s sentencing hearing was over for the day.

Barbara Cardone, a spokesperson for the Maine Judicial Branch, said in a phone interview Friday afternoon that she could not comment on the specific incident as she had just heard of it and was not present in the courtroom.

Cardone said she did not immediately know if the hearing will resume, if it will be rescheduled, or if it will be considered adjourned. Mullen said in his chambers he considered the hearing adjourned, according to Pratt.


Mullen, who stood up from his seat and watched the melee from near the courtroom exit with his chin resting in his hand, had finished reading his sentencing decision when the incident occurred, and left the courtroom once it was clear.

Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen imposed a 45-year sentence Friday for Jason Servil for the murder of Alice Abbott. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Based on a description of the assault provided by a reporter who was present in the courtroom, Cardone said law enforcement would likely bring assault charges against Warren.

“These types of things are becoming more and more common in courts” across the country, Cardone said. “We’re seeing more security issues crop up in the courtroom.”

In January, one such case made national headlines when a defendant in Nevada leaped over a defense table and the judge’s bench, landing atop the judge and sparking a bloody brawl with court officials and attorneys.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney, whose prosecutorial district includes Somerset County, said via text message Friday evening that her office was working with the Attorney General’s office to analyze the situation and will make a decision about possible charges next week.

Cardone said Mullen, the Superior Court justice, would not respond to requests for comment because both Servil’s case and the courtroom assault are pending cases.


In his sentencing remarks, Mullen read Abbott’s obituary into the record, saying that he found it striking. Mullen also said several times that he felt empathy for Abbott’s family but had to weigh both mitigating and aggravating factors presented by attorneys in determining Servil’s sentence.

He closed by reading a verse from Psalm 97, which he said reassures those who hate evil that God protects them.

“Let those who love the Lord hate evil,” Mullen said, “for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct dialogue of shouting that occurred in the courtroom. 

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