AUBURN — A Leeds man is seeking to have his murder charge dismissed because the alleged victim hasn’t been located.

Joseph Chute

Joseph Chute, 30, is charged with the intentional or knowing murder of Alex Jackson, 34, of Windham, who has been reported missing since May 12, 2023.

In a motion filed this week in Androscoggin County Superior Court, Chute’s attorney, Verne Paradie, wrote that his client is alleged to have made statements to a “few members of the public” that he killed Jackson.

But, because Jackson hasn’t been located, “there is no proof whatsoever that he is, in fact, deceased,” Paradie wrote.

“Without proof that Mr. Jackson is, in fact, dead, the state cannot possibly prove that Mr. Chute is responsible for his death,” Paradie wrote.

He cited legal doctrine known as “corpus delicti,” which Paradie said requires prosecutors to “present evidence, independent of incriminating statements made by an accused, sufficient to create a ‘substantial belief’ that the crime alleged was committed by somebody.”


Paradie wrote that prosecutors haven’t presented evidence that a murder weapon was found nor any other evidence to support the claim that a crime was committed other than Chute’s alleged confession.

The “defendant suggests that this matter should be dismissed unless and until the state has some evidence that Mr. Jackson is actually deceased,” Paradie wrote.

Chute was arrested March 29.

On April 1, a judge in 8th District Court in Lewiston ordered Chute held without bail pending a hearing at which a judge would hear arguments about bail and probable cause for Chute’s arrest.

That hearing has been set for May 29 along with a hearing on Chute’s motion to dismiss.

Police said Chute killed Jackson on May 12, 2023, the day Jackson was reported missing.

The Portland Press Herald has reported that Jackson’s mother, Patricia, said last spring that Jackson regularly traveled the back roads of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, hauling items for farmers on his flatbed trailer.

Police said they believed he was about to travel to upstate Vermont with his dog, Hazel, who was found three days later in North Yarmouth, but there was no sign of Jackson or his truck, according to the Press Herald.

Jackson had been living with his mother in Windham for several years but had bought property at the time he went missing and had planned to build his own home, according to the Press Herald.

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