August 16, 2018
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Lawyer for man accused in Bar Harbor killing confirms police questioning, video footage

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Bar Harbor police, firefighters and state police stand by a police yellow-tape barrier at Eden and West streets in Bar Harbor on Saturday, June 2, after the body of a Mikaela Conley, 19, of Bar Harbor, was found in woods between the roads and an elementary school.
By Bill Trotter and Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Updated:

While few details have been revealed about the circumstances surrounding the death of Mikaela Conley in Bar Harbor, police questioned accused killer Jalique Keene at a town elementary school the day her body was found there, according to his attorney.

Court documents containing details of what allegedly links Keene, 21, to the death of Conley, 19, have been impounded and the state medical examiner’s office has not released the cause of her death. Friends and family of Conley have declined to comment and discouraged others from discussing the matter with reporters or publicly on social media.

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
A photo of Mikaela Conley, who police say was killed last week in Bar Harbor, sits on display Monday evening at a vigil for her at the town's Village Green.

Some aspects of the case have been confirmed by his attorney, however.

In addition to confirming that Keene was questioned at the school on June 2, defense attorney Jeffrey Toothaker also confirmed that evidence in the case includes video footage of the playground that was recorded by a continually-operating security camera mounted outside a rear entrance to the school’s main building. Toothaker declined to comment further about the video recording, saying he has not watched it.

Barbara Neilly, the principal of the school, did not return a voicemail message left Monday afternoon at her office.

Several search parties fanned out in search of Conley that day, two days after she went missing. Twenty to 30 people invited through Facebook and/or the family, plus law enforcement and members of Down East Emergency Medicine Institute were among the searchers, said Richard Bowie, director of the Orono-based DEEMI Search and Rescue.

[Vigil held for Bar Harbor woman as details of her death remain elusive]

“It was basically a community effort, a Facebook effort,” Bowie said.

Conley’s body was found later on June 2 by a state police dog and handler in thick woods between Conners Emerson elementary school and the intersection of West and Eden streets.

Law enforcement officials were seen on June 3 gathering evidence at the elementary school, which abuts the section of woods where Conley’s body was found.

Hancock County Jail | BDN
Hancock County Jail | BDN
Jalique Keene

Keene made a brief first appearance in court on June 6, answering a few quick questions for Justice Bruce Mallonee without entering a plea to a charge of murder. The hearing lasted less than five minutes before he was whisked back to jail, where he remains without bail.

Conley and Keene both grew up in Bar Harbor and were only a few years apart in school. Conley was an underclassman at Mount Desert Island High School when Keene graduated in 2015.

Keene had recently returned to Maine from a stint playing football for an amateur team in Serbia, the Kraljevo Royal Crowns, according to his coach and a friend who previously spoke to the Bangor Daily News. Keene had played as a running back for MDI High School’s football team and went on to play at West Virginia State University before joining the Royal Crowns.

Public documents show that Keene recently married a Serbian woman who lived in Sarasota, Florida.

A marriage certificate in the Sarasota County government offices lists Keene and a woman named Jovana Sec, 23. They applied for the certificate on March 9 and the ceremony was performed on March 15, according to the certificate.

Efforts to contact Sec have been unsuccessful.

On Saturday, Conley’s family held a gathering for those who knew her at their restaurant, 2 Cats on Cottage Street, to celebrate her life. That was followed on Monday evening with a candlelight vigil on the Bar Harbor Village Green.

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