June 17, 2018
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Jurors continue to deliberate in crowbar murder trial under tight security

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Peter Robinson sits between his attorneys Thomas Hallet (left) and Molly Bailey Butler as Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson gives his closing remarks to the jury in Robinson's murder trial on Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Jurors in the murder trial of a Bradford man accused of beating a Hudson man to death with a large crowbar resumed deliberations about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday after an hourlong lunch break.

Peter Robinson, 50, is accused of killing David P. Trask, 71, on Nov. 12, 2011, in an alleged dispute over a right of way.

Security at the Penobscot Judicial Center was increased for the “high-profile” case, according to Allan Jamison, who is the head of security at the courthouse.

“Before the trial began we established a security plan and added extra people in the courtroom,” he said Tuesday morning. “So far, there have been no incidents.”

Extra officers were assigned to the courtroom and the hallways because of the alleged murder-for-hire plot initiated by the victim s relatives, the former Maine State Police detective said. The defendant sometimes has been escorted to and from the courtroom with a court officer.

Jamison said that for the Robinson trial two court officers instead of one were assigned to the jury. Jurors also have been escorted in and out of the building by court officers.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated Monday for about 2 hours, 20 minutes before informing Superior Court Justice William Anderson at 7:30 p.m. that they wanted to go home for the night. They resumed deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday before taking a lunch hour at 12:15 p.m.

During their Tuesday morning deliberations, jurors had a 911 call and a video made by the defendant replayed but decided against reviewing Robinson’s entire testimony after learning it would take two hours for the court reporter to prepare it to be read back and about four hours to read it aloud in the courtroom.

Robinson testified Thursday that he acted in self-defense. Robinson told the jury that he thought the cellphone holder on Trask’s belt was a holster with a gun in it and he feared Trask would shoot him. He told the jury that Trask came at him with a large crowbar when Robinson confronted him about leaving a chain gate down.

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

In addition to instructions on murder and self-defense, the judge told jurors they could convict Robinson of manslaughter if they found him not guilty 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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