Saturday, December 17, 2005

Rockland, Maine

From the Rockland Courier-Gazette of December 16, 2005
Jury issues mixed verdict in Cushing shooting case

A jury has found a Cushing man not guilty of aggravated assault but guilty of reckless conduct in connection to a Dec. 18, 2004, shooting at his home.

The reckless conduct charge was in connection to the shot Bruce Meklin, 37, fired at the truck of Michael Doughty, 44, of St. George after Doughty already had been shot three times by Meklin following a physical fight.

After the verdict, Meklin maintained he only shot Doughty in self-defense and in defense of his home, and added he fired the shot at Doughty's truck because he was convinced Doughty had a gun behind the seat.

“I know Mike Doughty,” Meklin said. “He wasn't backing down. It would have been a shootout.”

Meklin expressed disappointment with the verdict.

“I think I got a raw deal, because I was at my own house,” Meklin said. “I would never have fired the warning shot except I saw him go to his truck and look behind the seat.”

Sentencing is scheduled to take place March 3.

According to testimony heard this week, the pair had argued over the phone the morning of Dec. 18, then Meklin told Doughty to come to his home and settle the matter in person. When Meklin refused to answer the door, Doughty testified, he broke the door and then a physical fight occurred.

After that, Doughty was shot three times, including once in the back, and Meklin also shot at Doughty's truck as he was attempting to flee.

After they were dismissed to deliberate Thursday afternoon, jurors requested to be reinstructed on several legal definitions: aggravated assault; definition of premises; self-defense; and defense of premises.

Defense attorney Eric Morse attacked the credibility of the victim, who survived the shooting, claiming he had broken into the defendant's home and attacked him. Morse said Meklin was the victim and had attempted to defend himself and his home.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau acknowledged Doughty had broken Meklin's door. However, Rushlau said there was no need for Meklin to introduce a gun to the fight, nor to fire at Doughty multiple times.

Doughty called 9-1-1 from the truck and was taken to Penobscot Bay Medical Center. He underwent surgery for his hand and arm. He testified he still does not have full use of his left hand.

In June, Doughty pleaded no contest to a charge of aggravated criminal trespass at Meklin's home. Sentencing was postponed until after Meklin's trial concluded.

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