Bangor man cleared in fatal stabbing at Elm Street apartment

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 17, 2013, at 9:34 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A local man beaten in his apartment was acting in self-defense when he fatally stabbed his attacker and will not be prosecuted, according to the Maine Attorney General’s office.

Jeffrey S. LeBlanc, 34, died after being stabbed in the abdomen by Scott Plummer early on Dec. 29, while fighting in Plummer’s residence at 80 Elm St.

The Maine attorney general’s office, which conducted the investigation into LeBlanc’s death, closed the case after finding “legitimate issues of self-defense and defense of premises,” according to a press release issued Thursday by Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards.

Plummer spoke briefly with reporters Thursday at his apartment but later did not show up for a scheduled interview. Plummer said he had to leave to pick up his boots, which Bangor Police took as evidence.

LeBlanc was the aggressor and attacked Plummer in the residence, “causing multiple injuries to his face,” Edwards said in the press release. “[Plummer] tried to fend off LeBlanc but he continued to assault [Plummer].”

That is when Plummer stabbed LeBlanc once in side of the abdomen. The release did not contain details about the weapon used in the stabbing.

The injuries to Plummer’s face had healed by Thursday.

Attempts to reach family members of LeBlanc were unsuccessful on Thursday.

Assistant Attorney General William Stokes, head of the criminal division in the Maine attorney general’s office, said Thursday that the self-defense homicide was the state’s third in 2012, with others in China and Stockton Springs.

When dealing with homicides at a residence, investigators must consider more than who wielded the weapon, said Stokes.

“Under Maine law, you have not just the right to use force, including deadly force, to defend yourself, but [also] when you’re dealing with a dwelling … to prevent the commitment of a crime in the dwelling.”

When using self defense for defending a home, “You have to have a reasonable belief the person is about to enter your dwelling and he’s going to commit a crime,” Stokes said, explaining the legal threshold.

When a person claims self-defense, the burden of proof is placed on the prosecutor, he said.

“The standard we use when we look at this: Is there a reasonable probability that a fact finder, either a jury or judge, will find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” the prosecutor said. “The burden shifts to the state [and] we have the burden of disproving [self defense] it beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Bangor police detectives presented the case to Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson this week and he made the determination that Plummer would not be charged because he was defending himself and his home, Stokes said.

Responding police found a bleeding LeBlanc and a trail of blood in the driveway of Plummer’s apartment building at around 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 29, and LeBlanc later died at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Edwards said.

Tina Girouard, who identified herself as LeBlanc’s wife on Dec. 31, said an argument between the two men escalated into a fight. LeBlanc refused to leave the apartment when Plummer asked him to go, said Girouard at the time.

“They kept arguing back and forth, and Scott said, ‘You need to go,” Girouard said.

She said she got so frustrated with the two fighting men that she left the apartment.

The 911 call was made minutes later.

Scott Fogg, a clerk at Garland Street Store located just around the corner from Plummer’s apartment, said Thursday he has known Plummer for more than a year.

“He’s a nice enough guy,” the store clerk said. “He was always pleasant to me. I have nothing bad to say about Scott. Actually, I have nothing bad to say about Jeff either.”

The stabbing was a talking point for many of his customers, but over the last three weeks has started to wane. Now, “it’s business as always,” Foss said.

LeBlanc moved to Bangor from Massachusetts five months ago with Girouard, she said, to get away from crack cocaine — the couple’s drug of choice — after finding out she was pregnant.

Girouard said LeBlanc started using bath salts less than a week before his death and warned those interested in trying the lab-made drug to stay away.

“It’s horrible,” Girouard said of bath salts, breaking into tears. “Don’t ever touch it.”

Edwards said he had not heard “definitively” if bath salts played a role in the incident.

BDN staffer Andrew Catalina contributed to this story.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/01/17/news/bangor/bangor-man-cleared-in-fatal-stabbing-at-elm-street-apartment/ printed on September 17, 2014