BELFAST, Maine — A Florida firefighter’s widow sobbed quietly Thursday afternoon during a bail hearing for the accused murderer as details were released about how her husband was killed and his body hidden.
Murder suspect Daniel Porter, 24, of Jackson was denied bail after a two-hour hearing in Waldo County Superior Court for the Feb. 16 slaying of Jerry Perdomo.
His widow, Tonya Perdomo of Orange City, Fla., sat between two female friends in the front row during the hearing. She lowered her head and cried nearly inaudibly as the state’s attorney and a detective described how her husband was shot in the side of the head and his body hidden in the woods.
Porter wore handcuffs and a bulletproof vest to the proceedings, as he had last week during his first court appearance. He appeared much more subdued than before, although he did manage to blow a kiss to the estimated 75 family members and friends who jammed the wooden benches behind him to show their support.
A judicial marshal had told Porter’s supporters before the bail hearing began that under no circumstances would they be allowed to make outbursts, as some had done last week.
“We are not kidding,” the marshal said. “If you yell out in the courtroom, you will be asked to leave.” The crowd heeded the warning.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor and Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea questioned Maine State Police Detective Brian Strout, the lead investigator in the case, for nearly two hours before the judge gave his verdict.
“Bail under these circumstances is not warranted,” Justice Robert Murray said. “The defendant has no right to bail.”
Porter was arrested Feb. 28 at the house in Jackson where police said he killed 31-year-old Perdomo two weeks earlier in a drug-related crime. Porter told police that he owed Perdomo $3,000 and that Perdomo had threatened him and his family.
During Thursday’s hearing, one of those alleged threats was made public.
Silverstein said Perdomo had told Porter that he would take $500 off the debt if Perdomo could rape Porter’s girlfriend Cheyanne Nowak on the pool table at the home.
Police have confirmed they are investigating allegations that diverted prescription pills are part of the case. Perdomo was a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Seminole County Fire Department.
Strout said Lisa Gould of Bangor told police that she was Perdomo’s girlfriend and that he had been coming up to Bangor about once a month for the last 10 months in order to transport and sell prescription drugs.
Perdomo was selling “upwards of maybe 1,500 pills” per month in Maine, Strout said at the hearing.
Gould also told police that on Feb. 16, the day he died, Perdomo packed a gun and two cellphones and told her he had to go collect a debt, according to court documents.
Nowak told police she had met Perdomo that day at a Dysart’s gas station on Route 69 and then led him to a rural home in Jackson where Porter was staying. She left the house to pick up her toddler while Porter and Perdomo were playing pool together.
The firefighter died after being shot in the side of the head at the Jackson home. His body then was wrapped in blue tarps that were tied at each end and taken several miles to the woods near Porter’s grandmother’s home on Dahlia Farm Road in Newburgh, according to Zainea.
His body then was hidden about a half mile up a “twitch path” through the woods, according to Strout.
When police interviewed Porter about Perdomo’s death on the day of his arrest, he said that he would eventually tell them where the body and the murder weapon were hidden — but not right then.
“He indicated to me that he thought it was not in his best interest to tell us where the body was,” Strout said.
Ultimately, Porter told his father, Gary Porter, where the gun and body were hidden. His father shared that information with police, Strout said.
Outside the courthouse after the hearing, several of Porter’s supporters donned yellow T-shirts that read, “We Support The Right To Protect Our Families.”
Efforts to speak with Porter’s family and friends as well as with Tonya Perdomo after the hearing were unsuccessful.
Silverstein said on the courthouse steps afterward that his client knew it was unlikely he would be allowed bail. He seemed to imply that Porter might be safer in police custody anyway.
“We have great concern over some of the vitriol that’s gone on in the case,” he said.
Information is “just coming out” about the extent of Perdomo’s drug-related activities in Maine, he said, suggesting that the Florida man likely had an accomplice.
“That leads me to believe that Mr. Perdomo has not been involved in this alone,” Silverstein said. “As more information is developed, we’re learning that this is a much bigger deal than just bringing a couple pills to Maine.”