PARIS — A homeless man charged with six felonies stemming from the theft of two police vehicles and a shootout with nearly a dozen law enforcement officers two weeks ago finally had his first court appearance Monday after three failed attempts.

Gary Porter Submitted photo

Gary Porter, 37, had been scheduled to appear in court by videoconference from jail three times, but was deemed to be unable to participate in a meaningful way after he seemed to nod off and mumble answers during his first court appearance May 8, two days after his arrest.

The second time on May 10, his attorney said Porter appeared to be in an unfit mental state for a court hearing and filed a motion for a mental examination to gauge Porter’s competency and to determine whether Porter suffered from an abnormal condition of mind at the time of his alleged criminal conduct.

Porter was transferred from the Oxford County Jail on May 6 to Cumberland County Jail in Portland because the Paris jail is closed while the heating, ventilation, air conditioning system is upgraded, Oxford County Jail Administrator Dana Dillingham said Monday. Porter was later moved to the York County Jail in Alfred due to space considerations, Dillingham said.

On Friday, a judge said she had learned that the York County jail had been unable to arrange for Porter’s appearance over Zoom due to staffing issues. York County Sheriff William King Jr. later explained that the jail had experienced some technical issues, but they had been resolved quickly and that Porter had not been on the docket for a Zoom appearance that day.

On Monday, Porter appeared to be more alert as he sat inside the jail in Alfred for the hearing held in South Paris District Court.


Porter’s attorney, Justin Leary, said Monday that he wasn’t challenging probable cause to charge Porter with the six felonies and one misdemeanor.

At prosecutors’ request, Judge Andrew Robinson set bail at $20,000 cash for the charges stemming from the May 6 events.

Bail conditions included no possession of firearms or dangerous weapons for which he can be searched at random. He also is barred from having any illegal drugs, for which he can be searched if suspected of violating that condition.

Leary made no bail argument.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne had filed a motion to revoke Porter’s bail on a felony theft charge that predated the May 6 events.

Robinson ordered Porter held without bail pending a hearing on Beauchesne’s motion that has been scheduled for June 4.


Porter was arrested May 6 on a warrant charging a bail violation on the underlying theft charge after being found the morning of May 6 asleep in a chicken coop. He was taken to a Norway hospital due to concerns about his health.

After taking Porter from the hospital to Oxford County Jail for booking, police said he commandeered a police pickup truck while handcuffed and wearing a hospital gown, throwing an Paris police Chief Michael Dailey to the ground.

After a police pursuit, he crashed the truck on Route 117. He then stole a second law enforcement vehicle after a shootout with 11 law enforcement officers and was arrested after crashing it, according to a police report.

Beauchesne explained the reason he was seeking such a high bail was due to “the incredibly serious and reckless nature of these charges. The risk it caused to not only Chief Michael Dailey of the Paris Police Department (whose pickup police cruiser was allegedly stolen,) but all of the law enforcement officers that responded and were engaged in the chase and in light of the ultimate outcome of the chase itself.”

Porter didn’t enter pleas to any of the charges Monday.

Any felony charges must be handed up by a grand jury after finding probable cause before they can proceed to trial unless a defendant were to waive his right to the indictment process.

Charges against Porter include one count of escape and two counts of unauthorized taking, each crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

He also is charged with assault on an officer, eluding an officer and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, each count punishable by up to five years in prison.

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