BANGOR, Maine — Time hasn’t even begun to heal Dale Lambert’s wounds.
That much was painfully obvious when talking to the girlfriend of homicide victim Ralph Greenleaf Sunday during a protest outside Penobscot Judicial Center on Exchange Street. The 47-year-old Greenleaf of Bangor died from injuries suffered after he was pushed and fell to the ground Sept. 1 near a bar under the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge.
Lambert, who said she and Greenleaf were engaged, and 48 other friends and family members turned out late Sunday morning despite cold weather and spitting snow to show their support and hold signs protesting a Nov. 24 Penobscot County grand jury decision not to return an indictment in her fiance’s death.
“It means a lot to me that everybody came out. It would be nice to see a lot more though. I’d like to see 100 … I’d like to see 200, 500 … A thousand,” Lambert said, the frustration and emotion evident in her voice and the tears she was unsuccessfully trying to keep from running down her face. “It’s gone from shock to outrage the last few days for me [since the grand jury decision] and now I’m angry. We don’t want to see this swept under the rug.
“He needs justice. He deserves justice.”
Jody Hart of Bangor, Lambert’s sister, was among those holding signs and waving to motorists who were honking their horns in support.
“That right there is support, and it feels good,” said Bangor’s Crystal Gray, a friend of Greenleaf for the 23 years. “There’s a lot of anger and I’m sad. I don’t agree with the court’s decision, and we have to do anything we can do to get some sort of justice for him.”
Hart said, “There are people here from Frankfort, Prospect, a lot from Bangor, and a lot I don’t know. I’d like to see the person who did this stand trial. Then we’ll have some justice.
“I believe that it depends on who you are, whether you get justice or not.”
Greenleaf suffered his fatal injury when he was pushed by an individual, fell and hit his head on the pavement, according to a public briefing by the Bangor Police Department. After Greenleaf’s death, the state medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy and determined that he died of blunt force trauma to the head and that the manner of death was homicide.
“I miss him and I love him. We would’ve been married by now,” Lambert said.
Jack Thompson, Greenleaf’s nephew and the only member of his family in attendance, didn’t want to comment on his uncle or the case. He did comment on the show of support, however.
“Yes, it is nice to see people I know and people I don’t know here,” Thompson said.
Yussif Rishani drove from Prospect to show support for Greenleaf, whom he had known for six months.
“I think they’re just pushing this under the rug, and they don’t want to prosecute the guy who murdered him,” Rishani said. “They’ve got 60-some-odd witnesses who saw it happen. How can they say they’re not going to prosecute? Even if it was by accident, he still needs to pay for what he did.
“At least, if Ralph doesn’t get justice, maybe the next time something like this happens, that victim will.”