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Deliberations begin on Ormsby’s insanity plea

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Thayne Ormsby turns his gaze toward the media on the day of the opening statements in his triple homicide trial in superior court in Houlton on Monday, April 9, 2012.
By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — A jury in Aroostook County Superior Court began deliberating Thursday afternoon whether the man convicted of killing three people in the town of Amity in 2010 is criminally responsible for the murders.

Jurors left the courtroom just after 11 a.m., immediately after closing arguments in the State vs. Thayne Ormsby.

Ormsby was convicted on April 13 in the stabbing deaths of Jeffrey Ryan, 55, Ryan’s son Jesse, 10, and Ryan family friend Jason Dehahn, 30, all of Amity, on June 22, 2010. They were found dead about 27 hours after the killings at the elder Ryan’s home on U.S. Route 1, according to police. All three died of multiple stab wounds. Ormsby also was found guilty of arson for burning Jeff Ryan’s truck after he stole it from the murder scene.

Before the start of the murder trial, Ormsby pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges. Because of his insanity plea, Ormsby is being tried in two phases. The jury found Ormsby guilty during the first phase of the trial last week. This week, the jury heard evidence as to his state of mind at the time of the crimes. They are now deciding whether Ormsby was criminally responsible for his actions. The jury’s decision must be based on a preponderance of the evidence rather than on reasonable doubt as it was during the criminal phase of the trial. In this phase, the burden also has been on the defense to prove that he was insane.

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