BANGOR, Maine — A Maine State trooper testified Monday that he feared for his life when he shot Warren Frederick Dome last year in Edinburg.
Trooper Christopher Hashey told the jury that he shot Dome in the thigh and testicles on Aug. 14 after the Navy veteran refused to drop the butcher knife he was carrying or to stop walking in his driveway toward the trooper. Hashey said Dome was clutching a butcher knife in his right hand “like an ice pick” at shoulder level, the long blade pointed outward.
Hashey said that Dome would drop the knife to his side, then raise it again. The trooper said that Dome was about 10 feet away from him when he fired twice.
In December, the Maine attorney general’s office found that Hashey was justified in shooting Dome.
Dome was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. His trial before a jury of seven men and seven women, including two alternates, began Monday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center. It is expected to last two days.
Penobscot County Sheriff’s Deputy Ray Goodspeed, who also responded to the 911 call, testified Monday afternoon that he was ready to pull the trigger to shoot Dome when Hashey fired the second time. Goodspeed grasped the knife by its handle in his right hand and bent his elbow, so that the weapon was a few inches above his shoulder with the blade pointed out, to demonstrate for jurors how Dome held it as he walked up the driveway toward the officers.
Dome’s neighbors, who were on the scene when the trooper and deputy arrived, gave conflicting testimony about Dome’s emotional state just before he was shot. George Ressler, 60, of Edinburg said that Dome was sitting in a kitchen chair in his one-car garage when police arrived. Heidi Williams, 24, of Sebec told the jury that Dome was crying and sobbing so hard she could not understand what he was saying as he sat in the chair in the garage.
Ressler and Williams both testified they went to Dome’s home after they saw something burning in the middle of the road near his driveway as they were pulling into Ressler’s driveway. Williams said that she used a bottle of water in the car to put out a burning gas can that was on fire. She testified that she kicked it out of the road before walking toward the garage.
Before she could get inside the garage, she saw Hashey pull up in his unmarked cruiser, Williams testified. Hashey got out of his cruiser with his gun drawn and immediately told them to leave. She told the jury that she and Ressler got into his car and left.
“We were just ready to turn into [Ressler’s] driveway when I heard two gunshots,” she said.
Under cross-examination, Ressler and Williams both said that Dome did not threaten them or police.
“He was really upset,” Williams said when asked about Dome’s mood. “To this day, I don’t know what it was about.”
Alice Clifford, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, told jurors in her opening statement that Dome called 911 about 5:30 p.m. and told a dispatcher that he needed the police but gave a fake name.
“He said that he was finished,” the prosecutor told the jury. “He said that he didn’t want to go on. He also told the dispatcher ‘to send out the militia because you’re going to need it.’”
Clifford said that Dome hung up on the dispatcher, who called back a number of times before Dome answered.
“That time he said, ‘If there are going to be any casualties, they’re going to be on your side,’ meaning the police,” the prosecutor said in her opening statement.
Defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor, in his opening statement, described Dome as a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who was “having a really bad day.” The last thing Dome remembers from Aug. 14 is having lunch that day.
“When he woke up in the hospital, he had no idea what had happened,” Tzovarras said.
The defense attorney said that neighbors, who were on the scene when the trooper arrived, told Hashey they could talk to Dome. Hashey ordered them to leave the scene and they complied, Tzovarras told the jury.
Tzovarras said that Dome did not have the intent to harm the officer nor was he close enough to Hashey to put him in imminent fear for his life as the law requires. The defense attorney told jurors they would find his client innocent.
Hashey and Goodspeed immediately began administering aid to Dome. He was taken by helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Tzovarras said after the trial recessed for the day that Dome was hospitalized at least two weeks but has recovered from his wounds.
The defense attorney also said that Dome “most likely” would take the stand Tuesday.
The trial before District Court Judge John Lucy is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.