BANGOR, Maine — An Edinburg man who was wielding a knife when he was shot last summer by a Maine State Trooper was found guilty Tuesday of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.
A jury of five men and seven women deliberated for about four hours at the Penobscot Judicial Center before finding Warren Frederick Dome, 55, guilty of the charge. Dome remains free on bail pending his sentencing hearing on Aug. 22. He faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. His bail conditions include a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. during which he must remain at his home.
Earlier in the day, Dome took the stand and told the jury that he didn’t recall much about that sunny August day.
“I don’t remember calling the police or much of anything,” Dome testified during the second day of his trial.
Maine State Police Trooper Christopher Hashey testified Monday that he feared for his life on Aug. 14 when he twice shot Dome, who was approaching him with a butcher knife in his hand. The trooper, one of many who responded to Dome’s Edinburg home for the report of a suicidal man, said Dome was marching toward him when he fired his weapon at a distance of about 10 feet.
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. Dome was wounded in the thigh and testicles and has since recovered.
Defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor told jurors in his closing statements that by the time police arrived, his client “was so far out of it he wasn’t a threat.”
While on the stand, Dome’s attorney asked him whether he experienced a blackout during the incident, which occurred in his driveway.
“I don’t know. It’s like I fell into a black hole,” Dome testified. “I can’t [remember]. I tried. I just don’t know.”
Alice Clifford, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, told jurors repeatedly in her closing statement that Dome “knew what he was doing.” She said he called police using a fake name telling the dispatcher that he “didn’t want to go on” and to bring the militia “because you’re going to need it.” He then followed through on his threats, she said.
“The officer’s fear was real,” Clifford said. “Remember his testimony. He didn’t want to shoot him. He warned him repeatedly [to stop and put down the weapon].”
Clifford told jurors that if Dome was so out of his mind when the incident occurred, as the defense claims, why didn’t he attack his two friends, who stopped by just before police arrived after seeing a fire burning at the end of his 180-foot driveway.
“He went after the police, just like he said he would,” she said.
Trooper Barry Meserve testified Tuesday that when he arrived Dome was injured, and he was tasked with applying pressure to his wounds. The injured man was saying, “Just let me die. Let me die,” Meserve testified.
Trooper Josh De’Angelo testified he took pictures of the scene, including Dome’s garage, which a had a meat cleaver stuck in a woodpile, empty alcohol and beer bottles, and matches.
Trooper Brian Bean rode with Dome in the ambulance and testified that he heard him ask the ambulance crews to, “tell his family he loved them, and he told them, ‘This was not police’s fault. It was the fault of my own.’”
Trooper Tom Fiske spoke with Dome on June 2 and, “He stated he held no grudges for Trooper Hashey” and that he understood that Hashey “was afraid and was trying to protect himself.”
The state rested its case at about 9:30 a.m., and a sidebar was held to discuss if the defense could rely on Dome’s own testimony that he has post-traumatic stress disorder. District Court Judge John Lucy determined that Dome was not a medical expert and therefore the term PTSD would not be allowed during the trial.
“I will allow Mr. Dome to testify about how he was feeling, [that he was] seeing a doctor and taking medication,” the judge ruled.
Dome said he saw two people commit suicide during his 10 years in the U.S. Navy, between 1976-1986, and “it never leaves you.”
He said he called a VA crisis hotline a month or two before the incident. Dome was the only person to testify for the defense.
The jury asked to hear the 911 calls again and to rewatch the video from Hashey’s cruiser before making their determination.
The two minute video recorded from when Hashey arrived at the end of Dome’s driveway to the time of the shooting. Hashey gets out of the cruiser and can be seen waving for Dome’s friends to leave, which they do several seconds later in a burgundy colored car.
The trooper then walks in front of his cruiser, pulls his sidearm and walks out of view down the driveway.
Shortly afterward, Hashey comes back into view backing away from the driveway. Dome is seen walking toward him with the knife and then he grimaces, he grabs his crotch and then falls to the ground. Hashey comes back into view and appears to kick away at something on the ground, apparently Dome’s knife.
Dome told the jury that he had experienced other blackouts during previously stressful moments in his life, including a breakup in Arizona where he walked in front of a truck, and that he suffered a lot of stress in the last couple of years from a divorce, the death of a beloved pet dog and the death of three lifelong friends. The lifelong friends were from the same family in New York. He grew up on Long Island, he said.
He also said he had run out of his medication, which Dome described as anti-depressants he took daily. But an audiotape of the interview conducted by state police Detective Greg Mitchell with Dome in the hospital on Aug. 29, 2012, revealed the accused man said he was prescribed Valium, which is used to treat anxiety disorders.
In that interview and on the stand, Dome said he spent the morning doing chores around the house, including catching squirrels to keep them out of his attic.
Dome testified he woke up in the hospital with no memories of the event and that he learned what happened from the news.
“That is when I was clued in,” Dome said.