Grandson of man beaten to death with crowbar denies planning to kill defendant

Posted April 01, 2013, at 12:41 p.m.
The murder trial of Peter Robinson, 49, of Bradford started Monday at the Pebnobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. Robinson is accused of beating to death David Trask, 71, of Hudson in November of 2011.
The murder trial of Peter Robinson, 49, of Bradford started Monday at the Pebnobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. Robinson is accused of beating to death David Trask, 71, of Hudson in November of 2011.

BANGOR, Maine — The grandson of a Hudson man beaten to death with a crowbar denied Monday discussing with his father a plan to kill the defendant on trial for the slaying.

Darrick Trask, 26, of Bradford took the stand on the sixth day of the murder trial of Peter Robinson, 50, of Bradford.

Robinson is accused of killing David P. Trask, 71, on Nov. 12, 2011, in an alleged dispute over a right of way.

He testified Thursday that he acted in self-defense. Robinson told the jury that he thought the cell phone holder on Trask’s belt was a holster with a gun in it and he feared Trask would shoot him.

Robinson’s trial began March 25 at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

Closing arguments and instructions to the jury are to begin at 12:30 p.m. Jurors should begin deliberating by mid-afternoon, Superior Court Justice William Anderson said before breaking for lunch.

Darrick Trask, who was called as a witness for the defense, testified that he was upset that his paternal grandfather had been killed but said he did not recall discussing a plan to kill Robinson with his father, David A. Trask, 50, of Hudson.

Darrick Trask told police when he was arrested last summer for setting a car on fire in an unrelated incident that his father had asked him to kill Robinson, according to a motion filed last month by defense attorney, Thomas Hallett, of Portland.

David A. Trask took the stand Wednesday and vehemently denied the allegation.

“I am not a murderer, sir. Your client is, in my opinion,” the son of the victim told the defense attorney under cross-examination.

Darrick Trask pleaded guilty in November to aggravated criminal mischief, a Class C crime, in connection with the car fire, according to Bangor Daily News archives. He was sentenced to prison for two years with all but five months suspended and one year of probation and was ordered to pay more than $4,200 in restitution. He is now on probation after serving most of his sentence while awaiting the resolution of the case.

In an alleged second murder-for-hire plot Anderson ruled Monday morning, before the jury was brought into the packed courtroom, that two of the victim’s brothers could not testify about what they might have planned while Robinson was awaiting trial.

Anderson said the men could offer little information without getting into areas in which the men’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination would be at risk.

 

On Friday, two of Trask’s four brothers were asked questions about an alleged murder-for-hire plot before the jury entered the courtroom. Keith Trask, 68, and George Trask, 66, both of Corinth, on the advice of their attorneys — Hunter Tzovarras and Michael Rair, respectively — refused to answer questions about allegations that they hired a man to kill Robinson and dump his body at sea last year.

Defense attorney Hallett has stated in at least one court document that the two men and one of their wives hatched a murder-for-hire plot in the first half of 2012.

No one has been charged in the alleged scheme outlined in court documents. No one has been granted immunity from prosecution.

Robinson has been free on bail since just before Christmas 2011.

During the lunch break, attorneys from both sides said the judge would instruct the jurors they could find Robinson guilty of manslaughter if they did not convict him of murder.

If convicted of murder, Robinson faces 25 years to life in prison. The maximum sentence for manslaughter is 30 years.

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