Ex-EMCC student pleads not guilty to murder in fatal stabbing

Akeem Harris (left) stands with his attorney Jeffrey Silverstein during his arraignment at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Friday. Harris is currently being held without bail on charges related to the April 9, 2013, stabbing death of Thomas N. Taylor of Bangor.
Akeem Harris (left) stands with his attorney Jeffrey Silverstein during his arraignment at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Friday. Harris is currently being held without bail on charges related to the April 9, 2013, stabbing death of Thomas N. Taylor of Bangor.
Posted April 26, 2013, at 12:07 p.m.
Last modified April 26, 2013, at 3:22 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The former Eastern Maine Community College student charged in connection with a fatal stabbing April 9 at the Birch Circle apartments on Ohio Street pleaded not guilty to murder Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

Akeem T. Harris, 23, of Amityville, N.Y. was taken into custody in the courtroom by a Penobscot County Jail corrections officer after entering his plea.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson ordered that Harris be held without bail until a hearing can be scheduled to determine if he is eligible to be released. He was indicted Wednesday by the Penobscot County grand jury for murder in the death of Thomas N. Taylor, 30, of Bangor.

Dan Belyea, director of administrative and student services, confirmed late Wednesday that Harris had been a student when the stabbing took place.

“Mr. Harris was, but no longer is, a student at EMCC,” Belyea said in a statement. “He withdrew from the college shortly after the events that took place on April 9.

“The college understands that he has returned to his home state of New York and does not intend to return to the college,” the administrator said. “We know of no other connection between the alleged events and the college.”

Harris has no criminal record in Maine, according to the Maine State Bureau of Identification.

Taylor died on April 9 from “a stab wound to the chest” and had a “perforation of the lungs and heart,” Mark Belserene, a spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office, said earlier this month.

Details about what led up to the stabbing have not been released.

Bangor police were called to Taylor’s residence at the Birch Circle apartments, located at 1160 Ohio St., for an altercation shortly after 6 p.m. April 9 and found Taylor in the parking lot bleeding from the stab wound, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said earlier this month.

Taylor, who was the father of a young boy, was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center, where he later died.

If convicted of murder, Harris faces between 25 years and life in prison.

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