PORTLAND — The state’s highest court Tuesday upheld a Lewiston man’s conviction and sentence for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his then 1-year-old baby.

Jaquille Coleman, seen in 2022, takes a seat at the Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court Tuesday upheld his murder conviction for the intentional or knowing murder of Natasha Morgan, 19, of Lewiston on Aug. 21, 2020. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file

Jaquille Coleman, 29, was convicted in a jury trial in November 2022 and sentenced to 47 years in prison for the intentional or knowing murder of Natasha Morgan, 19, of Lewiston on Aug. 21, 2020.

Coleman’s defense argued an appeal of his conviction Feb. 7.

On Aug. 21, 2020, Morgan was speaking with Coleman in the driveway of her mother’s home the day after she told him she was ending their relationship and moving out of their apartment with their baby daughter, according to Morgan’s mother, eyewitness Lisa Morgan.

Morgan’s mother was seated in her car with Morgan’s child when she heard gunshots close by. She looked out the window, saw her daughter on the ground and rushed to Morgan, and then at Coleman, while yelling repeatedly to her husband inside, “He shot her.”

Coleman turned the gun on Morgan’s mother who lowered herself away from his sights. Coleman then fled in his car.


During closing arguments in November 2022, the prosecutor asked jurors how anyone but Coleman could have shot and killed Morgan, given all the evidence, including an eyewitness. The prosecutor also pointed out Coleman’s absence from the witness stand, which is one of three claims Coleman’s defense asserted was grounds for a mistrial in its appeal.

Coleman’s appeal claimed the statements were grounds for a mistrial because the prosecutor’s question shifted the burden of proof to Coleman for proving someone else committed the murder.

On Tuesday, the court said the denial for a mistrial was not in error because closing arguments are not evidence and the prosecutor stated immediately after the question that the state bore the burden of proof.

The appeal’s first claim asserted the trial judge mistakenly admitted evidence showing Morgan feared for her life before her death. The prosecutor told jurors Morgan established a “safe word” with a friend signaling a call to police because she was fearful after severing her relationship with Coleman.

The court found this admissible since it was relevant in showing Coleman’s motive.

Finally, the appeal claimed a violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments, Coleman’s right against self-incrimination, when the judge presiding over Coleman’s sentencing noted Coleman’s failure to express remorse.


“I haven’t heard remorse on Mr. Coleman’s part,” the court said. “I didn’t hear it in his statement. I don’t hear genuine remorse. That’s an aggravating factor.”

The court found the judge’s statement acceptable because a noticeable lack of remorse can be considered an aggravating factor which may be a considered in sentencing.

Jurors convicted Coleman for shooting Morgan four times in the driveway of her mother’s Scribner Boulevard home in Lewiston. The murder occurred just feet from the vehicle in which her mother and 1-year-old baby daughter were sitting.

The Maine Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Morgan died from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.

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