PORTLAND, Maine — A 70-year-old lobsterman accused of fatally shooting another man last month at a landmark bee farm in North Yarmouth pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Merrill “Mike” Kimball of Yarmouth was released on bail of $100,000 surety after his arraignment Thursday morning at the Cumberland County courthouse in Portland. Kimball was indicted on murder charges last week by a grand jury.
A call placed to Kimball’s attorney, Portland-based Daniel Lilley, was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon. Lilley previously told Portland NBC affiliate WCSH 6 that his client fired the gun in self defense.
Court documents show that Kimball is accused of using a black Ruger LCP .380 handgun to shoot Leon Kelley of Georgetown on Oct. 6. The two men were involved in a confrontation outside the North Yarmouth bee supply shop of 93-year-old Stan Brown, a longtime beekeeper well known in industry circles around Maine and the country.
Kelley died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, according to a spokesman for the Maine attorney general’s office.
Kelley was Brown’s son-in-law, while Kimball is the husband of Brown’s business partner, Karen Thurlow-Kimball.
Brown told the Bangor Daily News in the days following the incident that he believes his son-in-law was fatally shot trying to protect his store from Kimball.
He said he had told Kelley to keep Kimball from entering his store, which was closed at the time. Brown said he’d told Kimball several times in recent years to stay away from his shop, but he had gone into the store when it was closed “to take tools, bee supplies or anything else he could sell.”
He described his business partner’s husband as “troubled.”
But Lilley told WCSH last month the shooting was a case of self=defense.
“He did what he thought was appropriate, reluctantly,” Lilley told the television station. “He took out the gun and shot at this fellow. The man kept coming, it didn’t seem to faze him in the least. So he shot him a couple more times and it stopped the attack. Unfortunately, [it] caused the man’s death.”