BANGOR, Maine — The local man a jury found guilty Tuesday of attempting to murder his ex-girlfriend nearly two years ago was back in jail Wednesday night after the same jury held him criminally responsible for his crime.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson ordered David Archer, 35, to be held without bail pending his sentencing after the jury Wednesday afternoon rendered its verdict in the second phase of the five-day trial.
If he had been found not criminally responsible, Archer would have been sentenced to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta for an indefinite period of time. After the jury’s decision Wednesday, Archer faces up to 30 years in state prison.
A sentencing date has not been set.
On Tuesday, the jury of eight men and four women deliberated at the Penobscot Judicial Center for about 2½ hours before finding Archer guilty of attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and aggravated assault.
On Wednesday, the jurors were back in court to hear testimony from a psychiatrist and psychologist and to determine whether Archer, who had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity as well as not guilty, was criminally responsible for the crimes of which he was convicted.
State statute, Anderson told the jury Tuesday, allowed the defendant to choose to have the trial held in two phases. The rules of court procedure kept the judge from telling jurors about the rare second phase until the criminal phase was completed.
The jurors heard about three hours of testimony Wednesday morning, Greg Campbell, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, said after the trial concluded. They deliberated for about 50 minutes after breaking for lunch and hearing instructions from Anderson before announcing their second verdict.
“This was a long and difficult process,” Campbell said. “I’m pleased the jury returned these verdicts. They made the right decision based on the evidence. The defendant is a dangerous individual, and we were pleased he’s going to be incarcerated for a long time.”
The prosecutor declined to say how long a sentence he would recommend that Anderson impose.
Defense attorney Stephen Smith of Bangor said Wednesday that his client was disappointed in the jury’s verdict and planned an appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
“I think we amply demonstrated that my client’s bipolar disorder combined with his substantial substance abuse really caused him to lose his inhibitions, reduce his impulse control and caused him not to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.”
Archer was convicted of stabbing his ex-girlfriend twice in the abdomen on April 26, 2008, outside a Hudson Street apartment in Bangor. He testified Tuesday that he did not remember stabbing the woman but admitted he had been convinced by the evidence that he must have caused her injuries.
He admitted threatening to kill her and her new boyfriend in front of his mother on the afternoon of the stabbing. Archer told the jury the threat was idle.
Archer, the victim and other witnesses testified they had combined their prescribed doses of methadone with cocaine and other illegal drugs in the hours before the stabbing.