BANGOR, Maine — The murder trial of the Prentiss man accused of shooting his friend in the back of the head while high on cocaine is scheduled to begin today in Penobscot County Superior Court.
Joseph Dumas, 49, has been held without bail at Penobscot County Jail since his arrest in November 2007. He pleaded not guilty to intentional or knowing murder in January 2008.
If convicted, Dumas faces 25 years to life in prison.
Dumas is charged with murdering his friend 70-year-old Mario “Sonny” Litterio of Prentiss near some camps on Tar Ridge Road in Prentiss where Dumas was working Nov. 8, 2007.
Litterio’s death was discovered Nov. 9, 2007, when Dumas was treated at Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln for minor injuries after a car accident, according to court documents. He allegedly told a radiology technician that he was going to prison because he had shot and killed someone.
Dumas also allegedly told Maine State Police detectives where to find Litterio’s body. Following a map drawn by the defendant, investigators on Nov. 10, 2007, easily found the victim’s remains, according to testimony at Dumas’ bail hearing a few days after the defendant’s arrest.
Maine State Police Detective Brian Strout testified at that hearing that Dumas had sat at his kitchen table two days after the murder and explained how he had raised a .38-caliber revolver that belonged to Litterio and shot his friend in the back of the head.
“He was very emotional and broke down,” the detective said of his conversation with Dumas. “He said he didn’t know why he did that to [his] friend.”
Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy will preside over the jury trial that is expected to last most of the week.