Friends contradict testimony of Orono hit-and-run victim’s boyfriend

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted July 22, 2011, at 11:25 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two women who spent time with Jordyn Bakley in the hours before she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver testified that their friend was not as close to the man who described himself to jurors as Bakley’s boyfriend Thursday afternoon.

On Friday, the fourth day of the trial, Emily Fortin of Winthrop said that Bakley referred to Chester Ruth, 21, of Lincolnville as “her ex,” but the two remained friends.

Alyssa Phinney of Waterboro said it was her understanding the two were no longer a couple but were still seeing each other.

Both women said Bakley had told them she had a crush on a fellow University of Maine student named Zack, but they testified that they did not know him.

That contradicted what Ruth told jurors. He described Bakley as his “best friend” and the woman he loved.

Phinney, who wept throughout her testimony, said that she had planned to leave a party at Oak Street in Orono and walk Bakley home to her apartment at 27 Middle St. but left alone when Bakley seemed to be taking too long gathering up her coat and other belongings.

Bakley’s body was found about 5:30 a.m. Jan. 30, 2010, in front of 15 Middle St. by a newspaper carrier.

Garrett Cheney, 23, of South Berwick is charged with manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury, and criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants.

Defense attorney William T. Bly of Biddeford delayed his cross-examination of Ruth, scheduled to take place Friday morning, until later in the trial.

Cheney was in Orono on Jan. 29 visiting a cousin to celebrate the cousin’s 21st birthday, according to an Orono police affidavit filed at the time of his arrest on April 16, 2010.

After allegedly hitting Bakley, Cheney headed south on Interstate 95. His Chevrolet Silverado went off the highway about 3:30 a.m. in Etna, according to the affidavit. The damaged pickup was towed to the storage lot of a Newport towing firm.

Cheney was not injured but was charged with drunken driving. His blood alcohol level was 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit, two hours after his truck left I-95, according to the affidavit.

If convicted of manslaughter, the most serious crime with which he is charged, Cheney, who has no criminal history, faces up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this story contained wrong information about where Garrett Cheney, the man on trial in the hit-and-run death of Jordyn Bakley, lives. Cheney is from South Berwick, not North Berwick.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/22/news/bangor/friends-contradict-testimony-of-orono-hit-and-run-victim%e2%80%99s-boyfriend/ printed on July 31, 2014