March 23, 2018
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Testimony continues in Skowhegan murder trial

By Sharon Kiley Mack, BDN Staff

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — Testimony turned graphic Wednesday in the second day of Richard Reynolds’ murder trial in Somerset County, as medical examiners and forensic officials provided descriptions of the victim’s in-juries.

Reynolds, 41, is accused of shooting his wife in the head at her temporary residence in Fairfield on Jan. 12, 2007, one day after she was granted custody of the couple’s sons, and following months of marital problems. Wakefield-Reynolds, 37, died the next day.

Reynolds’ jury-waived murder trial is being heard by Justice Andrew Horton.

Eight witnesses testified during the morning session of the trial, which was moved to Skowhegan District Court for the day because of a scheduling problem at Superior Court.

Witnesses linked the gun used to shoot Wakefield-Reynolds and the bullet recovered from her body to her husband’s .40 caliber handgun.

Reynolds’ palm print was also found on a note recovered from his vehicle that indicated he wrote the note himself. It stated “Rhonda Reynolds doing someone’s husband not her own Your friendly local waitress Rhonda Reynolds someone else’s husband.” There was no puncuation in the note and it was written in all capital letters.

First to testify Wednesday was Maine’s Chief Medical Examiner Margaret Greenwald, who said Wakefield-Reynolds died from a gunshot to the top of her head that grazed her arm first. She said the victim had her arm raised in a defensive position when she was shot. The bullet passed through the sleeve of her fuzzy pink bathrobe and entered her head, eventually lodging in her mouth.

Greenwald said this was not typical penetration for a gunshot, which is usually perpendicular, she said. Greenwald testified that the bullet was likely shot from above Wakefield-Reynolds’ head, possibly when she was seated or on the floor.

Other forensic experts testified that the shot had to be fired from at least five feet away.

The trial started 45 minutes late Wednesday which earned two transport officers a dressing down from Justice Horton.

“I don’t know who I have to speak to,” he said, “but this is a very important trial.” He cautioned the officers not to bring the defendent late to court again.

The trial hinges on two perspectives: whether Reynolds went to his wife’s temporary home to commit suicide or to murder his wife, whom he had accused of adultery and drug use. Both parties had protection from abuse orders in effect against each other at the time of the shooting.

Defense attorney Peter Bar-nett said before court began Wednesday that his client had asked him not to comment on his case and therefore Barnett could not say whether Reynolds will testify on his own behalf.

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