Judge grants convicted stabber another new lawyer

Posted Dec. 29, 2012, at 7:23 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 29, 2012, at 9:55 a.m.

AUBURN — Raikuez Melchoirre, who pleaded guilty to a June 2011 stabbing, was granted a new lawyer Friday.

But it won’t happen again, Justice Robert W. Clifford warned during the hearing at Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Clifford told Melchoirre, who is awaiting sentencing for elevated aggravated assault, that he’d better get along with his new lawyer, his third.

“This is it,” Clifford said. “You’re not going to have any more. This case has been around a while.”

On June 19, 2011, Melchoirre, then 34, was drinking at a College Street apartment. During earlier court proceedings, prosecutors said a fight broke out after someone poured beer on another man, Richard “Buddy” Edwards Jr.

The men argued and threw punches. During the fight, Melchoirre pulled a knife and stabbed Edwards more than 20 times in the chest, side and neck, according to the earlier proceedings.

In August 2011, a grand jury indicted Melchoirre on the elevated aggravated assault charge, and he pleaded not guilty.

About 10 months ago, he and his then-attorney Henry Griffin said that communication between them had broken down. The court appointed attorney George Hess to take over Melchoirre’s representation.

In March, Mechoirre entered his guilty plea, a hybrid called an “Alford plea” that allowed him to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that the state had enough evidence to make its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

In August, Melchoirre tried and failed to reverse his plea.

Hess argued that Melchoirre should be allowed to withdraw his plea because he had been confused and misunderstood the process at the time he entered his plea.

On Friday, Hess and Melchoirre said communication between them was failing. Clifford agreed to the motion. He also described Hess and Griffin as “very fine lawyers.”

Clifford said he wanted the case to be concluded and said no further delays will be permitted.

“There’s a pattern developing here that’s not going to be repeated,” he said.

Melchoirre faces up to 30 years in prison.

He is being held at the Androscoggin County Jail on $7,000 cash bail.

 

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