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Assault, disorderly conduct charges dismissed against Penobscot chief

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Kirk Francis, chief of the Penobscot Indian Nation speaks at a 2016 press conference.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Updated:

Misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges against Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis Sr. were dismissed Tuesday by the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office for lack of evidence, according to a dismissal form filed at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

Charges against the chief’s two sons, Kirk Francis Jr., 27, of Westbrook and Tannar Francis, 25, of Farmington, and Robert Dana, 51, of Indian Island will go forward. All three men and the chief pleaded not guilty to the charges in May.

“We are pleased that the charges against Chief Francis were dismissed with prejudice due to insufficient evidence” attorney A.J. Greif of Bangor, who represents the Francis men, said late Tuesday in an email.

“With prejudice” means the charges cannot be refiled.

Penobscot County Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Fowler, who is prosecuting the men, declined Tuesday to comment on the dismissal or the pending cases. Michael Hockenbury of Bangor, who represents Dana, also declined to comment.

The charges stemmed from a Jan. 13 fracas in the parking lot of the Penobscot Pourhouse at 14 Larkin St. in Bangor, shortly after midnight, according to a previously published report.

The dispute stemmed from long-simmering tensions between the elder Francis, 49, of Bangor and Dana, a member of the Penobscot Nation’s 12-person Tribal Council, over tribal business, Dana’s wife, Tonia Dana, 45, of Indian Island said in April.

Dana was charged in January, according to Bangor police. The Francises were issued summonses in April. Dana is next due in court in August. The Francis brothers have an October court date. Trial dates have not been set.

Tribal leadership — a partnership between the chief, an elected position, and the elected Tribal Council — governs the Penobscot Nation, which includes 2,040 members, 610 of whom live on the tribe’s Indian Island reservation.

If convicted, the men face up to a year in prison and fines of to $2,000 on the assault charges. The defendants face up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000 on the disorderly conduct charges, if convicted.

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