BANGOR, Maine — A Penobscot County jury on Monday found a local man guilty of threatening a Brewer man with a hatchet on Oct. 27 outside a Chinese restaurant in what the prosecutor described as a “road rage” incident.
Arthur Moran, 54, of Bangor was found guilty of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a Class C crime, after a daylong trial, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office.
Jurors deliberated for less than 20 minutes before announcing their verdict, Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, said in a telephone interview late Monday.
Superior Court Justice Kevin Cuddy immediately sentenced Moran to three years in prison with all but one suspended. He faced up to five years in prison on that charge.
Cuddy also sentenced Moran to six months in jail, to be served concurrently, after he pleaded guilty to Class D terrorizing. The defendant pleaded guilty to that charge, which involved threatening a witness in the case, after he was found guilty of the more serious charge, Roberts said. Moran faced up to a year in prison on the misdemeanor charge.
Moran’s attorney, Joseph Belisle of Bangor, told jurors in his opening statement that his client admitted being in the parking lot of the No. 1 Kitchen at the corner of State and Maple streets, where the incident took place, but denied acting in a threatening manner.
Roberts told jurors in his opening statement that Moran became upset because he had been waiting to turn right from Maple Street onto State Street and believed the victim should have waited for him to complete his turn before turning left and pulling into the restaurant parking lot.
The 60-year-old victim, who lives in Brewer, testified Monday that he turned left into the restaurant parking lot from State Street about 4:50 p.m. on Oct. 27. He said that while he was inside the restaurant he saw Moran in the parking lot waving a hatchet and yelling obscenities at him.
Meanwhile, another witness, who worked at S.J. Rollins Technologies in the building next to the Chinese restaurant, saw Moran shouting and waving the hatchet in the parking lot. The witness testified Monday that he wrote down Moran’s license plate number and went back inside his building and called police.
“The screaming had ceased, so I paid for my bag full of food and looked out to see where he was and I thought, ‘This could cause some indigestion,’” the victim testified.
He told jurors that he thought Moran had left the area, so he got into his truck and pulled out into State Street to head home to eat supper.
It turned out that Moran had not left, and pulled up behind Moran as he waited to turn left off State Street onto Oak Street.
The victim said at one point Moran pulled beside him and was “yelling and waving his fists.” Moran then got behind the victim again.
“I thought, ‘If this guy is going to follow me, I’m going to take him right to the [Bangor] police station,’” he testified.
The victim said he saw two police cruisers with their lights on and sirens wailing coming toward him on State Street. At that point, Moran pulled into the Family Dollar Store, and cruisers went in behind him. The victim said he pulled into the same lot to tell officers what had happened.
“I thought, ‘Whew, I’m safe,’” the victim told jurors.
Moran was arrested at gunpoint and a hatchet was recovered from his truck. He was taken to the Penobscot County Jail and released later that day.
On Oct. 28, Moran went to S.J. Rollins and threatened the witness who worked there, Roberts said Monday. A motion to revoke his bail was filed but it took about six weeks for it to be heard and granted.
In the six weeks leading up to the trial, Moran had been held without bail, the prosecutor said. That time will be applied to the year he is expected to serve.