January 17, 2019
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Man accused of torching fire marshal’s car won’t face retrial, DA says

Courtesy of Penobscot County Jail
Courtesy of Penobscot County Jail
John Allen Weckerly, 2011

A Prentiss Township man accused of setting fire to a fire marshal’s car in 2011 will not be retried, according to the head prosecutor for Penobscot County.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court earlier this month set aside John Weckerly’s arson conviction in connection with the incident.

“It would be an unwise use of time and money to continue further,” District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Friday in an email.

John Weckerly, now 61, originally was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury in April 2012 on a dozen charges — four counts of arson, five counts of criminal mischief and one count each of aggravated criminal mischief, burglary and theft by unauthorized taking.

A jury found Weckerly not guilty on 11 charges in August 2012 but deadlocked on the arson charge.

Three years later, following an appeal to the state Supreme Court and a change of lawyers, Weckerly was retried on the arson charge before a different jury. He was found guilty of the crime on Aug. 28, 2015, and sentenced in October 2016 to seven years in prison, all suspended.

Almy said that the suspended sentence was another reason not to retry Weckerly.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court found that evidence about crimes Weckerly was found not guilty of at his first trial should not have been presented to jurors in his second trial. The justices found it violated Weckerly’s right to be protected from double jeopardy.

A request Friday for comment from Weckerly’s Bangor attorney, Hunter Tzovarras was not immediately returned.

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