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Prosecutor’s final word: Bangor woman is guilty of murder; not insane, did not act in self-defense

Linda Coan O | BDN
Linda Coan O | BDN
Roxanne Jeskey, photographed at the Penobscot Judicial Center on Jan. 2, 2013.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Roxanne Jeskey did not act in self-defense when she used a bat, razor, pliers and other implements to brutally attack her husband in the couple’s Union Street apartment on June 12, 2011, the prosecution said in its closing rebuttal argument filed Friday.

She also was not legally insane, Assistant Attorneys General Leane Zainea and Deb Cashman wrote in rejecting the defense team’s argument that Jeskey, 50, of Bangor was not criminally responsible for killing her 53-year-old husband, Richard “Rick” Jeskey.

The prosecutors also urged Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter not to be swayed by the argument that Jeskey is guilty of manslaughter and not intentional or knowing murder, as defense attorneys Joseph Baldacci and David Bate, both of Bangor, stated in their closing argument.

Baldacci and Bate maintained that Jeskey is not guilty by reason of insanity, but offered alternative scenarios of self-defense and manslaughter in their closing argument filed last month.

Prosecutors said that Rick Jeskey suffered superficial injuries, genital injuries, a burn mark and suffered a fracture to his hyoid bone that occurred as a result of strangulation.

“Clearly, that type of injury occurs when it is a person’s conscious objective to cause death or that is practically certain that manual strangulation will cause death,” Zainea and Cashman said. “This injury alone supports a finding of intentional or knowing conduct.”

Hunter asked for written closing arguments in January after hearing six days of testimony in December and January at the Penobscot Judicial Center. Jeskey opted for a non-jury trial.

Experts gave conflicting testimony at Jeskey ‘s trial about whether she knew right from wrong the night she allegedly beat and strangled her husband. That is the standard the judge must use to determine if she is not guilty by reason of insanity. Under Maine law, whether Jeskey was able to engage in “goal-directed behavior” is a factor the judge must consider.

Prosecution and defense experts testified that Jeskey’s cognitive skills and memory are impaired due to the removal of a brain tumor 10 years ago. She was found competent to stand trial by Hunter and Superior Court Justice Ann Murray, who later recused herself from the case.

“Although, there was an abundance of testimony from [prosecution experts] regarding the defendant’s possible mental condition, the best evidence of whether the defendant acted either intentionally or knowingly was the conduct that she engaged in and the goals she achieved during the evening of the homicide,” Zainea and Cashman said in the rebuttal.

Jeskey spoke to neighbors to see how concerned they were about the noise coming from the Jeskey apartment. She also called her husband’s boss to say he would not be coming to work. In addition, Jeskey cleaned up the bathroom and did laundry after the killing, the prosecution said.

There is no timetable under which Hunter must issue his decision, but now that the rebuttal has been filed, a date for him to announce his decision is expected to be set soon.

Jeskey, who has no prior criminal history, faces between 25 years and life in prison if convicted of murder. A manslaughter conviction carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. If found not guilty by reason of insanity, she would be committed to Riverview Psychiatric Hospital in Augusta until the staff deemed her no longer a danger to the community.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.


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