Defense attorneys, prosecutors to meet on status of Oakfield double murder case

Posted April 22, 2014, at 2:16 p.m.
Matthew Davis
Aroostook County Jail
Matthew Davis

HOULTON, Maine —- Attorneys for a Houlton man who is accused of killing an Oakfield couple last fall will be meeting next month with prosecutors to discuss the status of the case and determine how to proceed.

The dispositional conference for defendant Matthew Davis, 32, will take place on May 28 in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton with attorneys from the Maine Attorney General’s Office and James Dunleavy and Sarah Leclaire, the Presque Isle-based court-appointed defense attorneys. Davis was arrested on Sept. 23, 2013, and accused of fatally shooting Michael Kitchen, 51, and Heidi Pratt, 49, in their home before setting it on fire. Two months later, he was indicted on two counts of murder, four counts of arson, three counts each of theft and aggravated criminal mischief.

Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes said Tuesday that the case against Davis remains in the “discovery phase” and that the conference is being held so that the attorneys can discuss how their case is proceeding and what their next steps may be. It is mainly a status conference.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea is assigned to the case, but she did not return repeated phone calls left at her office.

Reached late last week, Dunleavy said he could not comment beyond confirming that the conference was set to take place.

An autopsy conducted at the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta determined that Kitchen died from multiple gunshot wounds and Pratt from a gunshot wound to the neck. Police said the wounds were inflicted by a semi-automatic rifle purchased by Davis. Davis never reported the gun stolen, investigators said, and it was found lying across Kitchen’s body in the burned remnants of the home.

According to an affidavit written by Maine State Police Detective Elmer Farren, neighbors of the victims heard gunshots at about 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 23 and saw a truck leaving the scene with one male driver. Firefighters called to the home discovered a white pickup truck belonging to Katahdin Forest Products aflame against the residence. One hour later, the Island Falls Fire Department was called to extinguish a fire on Richardson Road in Island Falls, where another pickup truck was found burning with a firearm inside.

Police believe the spree of mayhem started earlier that morning at Katahdin Forest Products in Oakfield, where a flatbed wrecker truck registered to Davis had been backed into the building, and both the truck and office had caught fire. Police said video surveillance from that site shows the same white company truck that was found burning at the Kitchen home leaving the scene.

Following a manhunt, police found Davis at about 10:45 a.m. in a stolen vehicle in Island Falls and arrested him, according to the affidavit.

Farren also said in the affidavit that police determined the burning vehicle found on Richardson Road belonged to the mechanic’s garage that Kitchen owned with his family. Another firearm inside that vehicle belonged to Davis.

Davis did not enter a plea when he made his initial court appearance on Sept. 25. He has been held without bail since his arrest.

 

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