June 23, 2018
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Man accused of firing at federal agents in Portland appears in court

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — A man accused of firing a handgun at U.S. marshals in Portland on Friday night appeared in U.S. District Court with the aid of a metal walker because of a bullet wound in his leg suffered during the alleged shootout on Mellen Street.

Arien L’Italien, 22, of Biddeford, wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit, waived his rights to probable cause and bail hearings during his first court appearance Monday.

Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III told L’Italien he was being charged with attempted murder of a federal agent and possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to the affidavit of FBI special agent Patrick Clancy, four members of the U.S. Marshals Violent Crime Task Force were searching for L’Italien in the area of Cumberland Avenue and Mellen Street on the evening of Friday, Jan. 27. An arrest warrant for aggravated assault had been issued for him by York County Superior Court, Clancy stated.

L’Italien was wanted in connection with a stabbing in Biddeford on New Year’s Eve in which the victim was hospitalized with a neck wound, according to a report by the weekly Sun Chronicle newspaper of York County.

Clancy testified that the federal agents spotted L’Italien and an associate on Mellen Street, and the men began to run away when a task force officer yelled, “U.S. marshals, stop.”

After deputized task force officer John Gill then yelled for the suspect to “stop or I’ll shoot,” Clancy testified, L’Italien opened fire on the pursuing agents.

“L’Italien turned toward Gill and raised his hand,” Clancy testified in his affidavit. “Gill then saw a muzzle flash coming from L’Italien and heard a gunshot followed by additional gunshots. Members of the arrest team then returned fire in L’Italien’s direction, firing several shots. One shot hit L’Italien in the leg and he went down on the pavement.”

Clancy went on to state that agents found a .40-caliber handgun near L’Italien, who was treated at the scene for his bleeding leg and then taken to the hospital. The second man escaped during the shootout, Clancy said.

According to court records, L’Italien was convicted in 2008 of assaulting an officer and was convicted of theft in January 2011.

L’Italien — answering a series of questions by the judge with short, mostly one-word answers — said in court he understood his rights to remain silent and to an attorney.

He also confirmed the veracity of a one-page financial declaration claiming no bank accounts or valuable property and accepted the services of court-appointed federal defense attorney David Beneman.

L’Italien, through his attorney, then waived his rights to a preliminary examination — otherwise known as a probable cause hearing — in which federal prosecutors would be forced to prove they have the evidence necessary to put him on trial. The suspect also waived his right to a bail hearing, effectively accepting detention in prison while awaiting trial.

After a nearly 25-minute court appearance, L’Italien was escorted from the courtroom without offering any further comments. Beneman told reporters afterward he could not comment on the case.

Rich told L’Italien if he is convicted, he will face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for the first count and up to 10 years in prison and another $250,000 in fines for the second count, with additional $100 penalties per charge assessed because he is a felon.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Chapman said he expects the grand jury to hear the case in the “fairly near future.”

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