BANGOR — After hearing testimony and considering evidence for two days, the Penobscot County grand jury Wednesday declined to return an indictment in the death of Ralph N. Greenleaf, 48, of Bangor.
Nearly 20 witnesses on Wednesday and Oct. 27 told members of the grand jury what happened on Aug. 29 outside Carolina Sports & Spirits under the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge.
The grand jury meets the last Wednesday of each month at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Greenleaf died after he was pushed once by one individual, fell and hit his head on the pavement, Bangor Police Lt. Tim Reid, head of the detective division, said at a press conference late Wednesday afternoon.
“This is a case where we’ve known all the facts early on,” Reid said at the press conference. “There were a number of eyewitnesses in the case, and everyone was very cooperative.
“Sixteen people testified before the grand jury over two days, and they decided that it does not rise to a suitable level of prosecution. The grand jury’s decision effectively closes this case.”
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said having so many witnesses appear before a grand jury in a homicide case is rare.
“It was a thorough presentation to the grand jury,” Benson said Wednesday as he left the Penobscot Judicial Center. “Grand jurors gave thorough consideration to the law before making their decision.”
The Maine Attorney General’s Office prosecutes all homicides in Maine.
Greenleaf, 47, was involved in an altercation just after area bars closed early on Sunday, Aug. 29. Around 1:25 a.m. that day, he was taken unconscious by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. He died three days later, at 11:20 p.m. Sept. 1.
The state medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide.
The confrontation involved Greenleaf and several young people, according to eyewitnesses, and was broken up by bouncers at a nearby bar. A member of the band playing at the bar called for an ambulance.
Mark Greenleaf, who co-owns Carolina’s, which is next door to where Ralph Greenleaf died, told the Bangor Daily News in September that his employees had told him a group of young people provoked the fight and needed to be pulled off the victim.
He said the victim, who was not related to him, “was pushed and he didn’t put out his arms and he smashed his head.”
The bar owner described the incident as a terrible tragedy and said his employees did everything they could to help.
Ralph N. Greenleaf was a longtime employee of Roof Systems of Maine in Bangor, where he worked as a kettle tender. He had worked for the company since 1992 and lived on Ohio Street.