Police jail witness in Maine murder trial

Posted Oct. 22, 2010, at 5:39 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A witness in a high-profile murder trial in Maine has been arrested eight days after he sped off in his vehicle when police tried to stop him.

John Durfee was arrested Thursday in Kennebunk on a charge of eluding a police officer.

The 66-year-old Durfee was a key figure in the murder trial of Jason Twardus, who was convicted Oct. 1 in the death of his ex-fiancee, Kelly Gorham.

During the trial, Twardus’ attorney suggested Durfee — who was Gorham’s landlord — should be considered an alternative suspect in Gorham’s death.

According to the Portland Press Herald, Durfee sped away from police on Oct. 13 after his wife was found unconscious but unhurt in a front yard along a road in Eliot.

Witnesses told police that they saw a Chevrolet Equinox going away from Goodwin Road. Police in York spotted the car and chased it several miles into Dover, N.H., where the chase was called off because of traffic congestion and concerns for public safety.

John Durfee also faces criminal charges in Biddeford, in connection with an incident at the cemetery on Elm Street on Sept. 17, two days after he testified in the Twardus trial. He was charged by Biddeford police with possessing marijuana, obstructing government administration and violating the conditions of release. His court date on those allegations is Dec. 22.

John Durfee and another man, Calvin DeGreenia, testified that they had dinner and drinks with Gorham on the night before she disappeared. On the stand, Durfee admitted a decades-long addiction to PCP, a hallucinogenic drug known as angel dust.

He had no clear memory of August 2007 when he testified, he said, but he vehemently denied any involvement in the crime. His wife stood by her husband, saying that any suspicion of him was unfounded.

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