DA awaits state police review of shooting death

Posted April 28, 2009, at 9:09 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:21 p.m.

INDIAN PURCHASE 4, Maine — Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy hasn’t begun his review of the accidental shooting death of a 19-year-old Millinocket man three months ago because he hasn’t received the case’s paperwork, he said.

“I have to wait and see what the state police do,” Almy said Tuesday. “I will look at it, review it and see what the evidence shows.”

Almy will review the case of Tyler Emerson, a Maine Maritime Academy student who was fatally shot at a North Twin Lake camp on Jan. 18 to see whether three other teens who were with him that night should face minor criminal charges in connection with the incident, such as underage drinking.

On March 26, Maine Deputy Attorney General William Stokes ruled that Jordan Manzo legally owned his .40-caliber Glock, and there was no evidence that anything he did with it when Emerson was accidentally shot once in the face showed that he deserved a manslaughter charge.

A semiautomatic with a scope, Manzo’s handgun went off as Emerson handed it to Manzo at the Manzo family camp outside Millinocket during an overnight snowmobiling trip. When Emerson was shot, Manzo, his twin brother, Jared, and their friend John Wyman, 18, all of Millinocket, raced by snowmobiles and a vehicle to get Emerson to Millinocket Regional Hospital.

Emerson was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter.

As deputy attorney general, Stokes is charged only with reviewing cases to see whether the application of murder or related homicide charges is warranted. He said no charges should be filed because investigators could not determine exactly how or why the gun went off and that Manzo, who is known to be a conscientious prac-titioner of gun safety, appeared to have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the gun would not fire.

However, blood-alcohol content evaluations of the four teens taken at 4 a.m., within four hours of the incident, showed that Jordan Manzo had a reading of 0.04; Tyler Emerson, 0.038; and Jared Manzo, 0.002. Wyman had no alcohol in his bloodstream, Stokes has said.

In Maine, the legal drinking age is 21, and the minimum blood-alcohol content rating required for legally defined intoxication, such as with a charge of driving while under the influence, is 0.08.

State police have probably finished their review of the case, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

“I suspect it’s pretty much done. It’s just a question of getting it over to him,” McCausland said Tuesday, referring to Almy.

The Emerson family has said it bears no malice toward the Manzos and repeatedly expressed the desire that no one be charged with a crime in connection with the shooting, calling it an agonizing ordeal for all involved.

Almy said he expected his review would take one or two weeks once he receives the case paperwork.

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