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Manslaughter Case Dismissed in York County

Posted by Tim Zerillo | Aug 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

Following is a Portland Press Herald article by Dennis Hoey regarding a manslaughter case for a tragic accident that took place on Moussam Lake.  My Client lost his twin brother in this tragedy.  After a lot of effort, and a successful defense motion to suppress evidence, the State has dismissed all charges against my Client. Congratulations to my Client on this victory.  The article is reproduced below:

Charges dismissed against Maine man driving boat that killed his twin brother

Jeffrey Beattie died in May 2016 when he fell off the bow of a boat being driven by Jonathan Beattie on Mousam Lake in Shapleigh.

The York County District Attorney's Office has dismissed all charges against a Sanford man in connection with a 2016 boating accident that killed his twin brother, citing a judge's decision to grant a motion to suppress results of a blood alcohol test.

Jonathan Beattie, 33, of Sanford had been indicted in November 2016 on charges of manslaughter, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and operating watercraft under the influence causing serious bodily injury or death. He also was indicted on a misdemeanor count of operating a watercraft under the influence.

In a filing in York County Superior Court on Tuesday, York County Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan said that her office decided to dismiss all four charges because Superior Court Justice John O'Neil Jr. granted a June 11 motion by Beattie's attorney to suppress the results of a blood alcohol test and statements Beattie made to police on the day of the accident.

“The court granted the defendant's motion to suppress after a full hearing,” McGettigan wrote in her dismissal filing. “Without the information regarding the defendant's statements and other information, the state cannot meet the high burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Jeffrey Beattie was killed on May 28, 2016, when he fell off the bow of the boat his brother was operating on Mousam Lake in Shapleigh.

Investigators said the motorboat ran over Jeffrey Beattie, who was initially taken to Southern Maine Health Care in Sanford before being flown by helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he died from his injuries.

According to the motion filed by Timothy Zerillo, Jonathan Beattie's attorney, a police officer and game warden never performed a field sobriety test on Jonathan Beattie, instead informing him that he had a “duty” to consent to having his blood drawn. Beattie verbally agreed and gave a blood sample at Southern Maine Health Care, but Zerillo said in court documents that the officers never sought or obtained a warrant.

The lawyer also told the judge that the officer and warden did not allow Beattie to accompany his brother to the hospital in the ambulance, and then they questioned him for 5 to 10 minutes.

O'Neil called the blood test “an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment” and noted that Beattie's interrogation by police was made without a Miranda warning.

Documents Zerillo filed in York County Superior Court in March describe what started out as an enjoyable, late spring day boating on Mousam Lake. The identical twins were joined on the motorboat by two friends and Jeffrey's wife, Jennifer Beattie.

“Jeffrey had one knee on the bowrider seat and his foot on the floor. As they turned, Jeffrey went over the side. The prop clipped him on the way by, and a fun day turned tragic,” Zerillo wrote. “The group immediately fished Jeffrey out of the water and began trying to stop the bleeding.”

Zerillo said that while his client is relieved that the charges against him have been dropped, he may never fully recover from the death of his brother. Jeffrey Beattie left behind his wife and two young children.

“We got the best possible result in the criminal case,” Zerillo said in a telephone interview Thursday evening. “But it is an absolute tragedy for him and his family.”

About the Author

Tim Zerillo

Tim Zerillo is a Maine civil and criminal trial attorney. He been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers “Top 100” attorneys. He has been elected to “New England Super Lawyers” every year since 2010. Attorney Zerillo's practice focuses primarily on criminal defense and civil litigation for plaintiffs and victims. Attorney Zerillo's career has reflected a strong commitment to represent the injured and the accused.

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Awards

Timothy E. ZerilloClients’ ChoiceAward 2017
Timothy E. ZerilloClients’ ChoiceAward 2014
10.0Timothy E. Zerillo
The National Trial Lawyers

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