ROCKLAND, Maine — An Owls Head fisherman who was shot on Matinicus Island last July pleaded guilty Monday to criminally trespassing on accused shooter Edwin Vance Bunker’s lobster boat shortly before the incident.
According to a September indictment filed with Knox County Superior Court, Christopher Young, 42, was asked to leave Bunker’s boat the morning of July 20, 2009.
Bunker told police he shot Young in the neck later that day after an altercation on the town dock, which authorities said stemmed from a dispute over cut lobster traps.
After he pleaded guilty to one count of criminal trespass, Young paid the court $610, which included the $500 fine for his misdemeanor.
Young’s attorney, Justin Andrus, had filed a not guilty plea in late September and asked for a jury trial. Andrus declined to comment Tuesday on why his client changed his plea.
Bunker is facing charges of two counts of elevated aggravated assault, one count of criminal threatening and one count of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. The jury selection for his trial is scheduled for March 1.
All charges stem from an extended dispute that escalated to violence on July 20 when Bunker allegedly shot Young on the town dock and also shot over the head of lobsterman Weston Ames.
According to a police affidavit filed in August, the day of the shooting began with Young boarding Bunker’s boat and accusing him of cutting his gear. Bunker told Young to leave his boat, and when he failed to do so, sprayed him with pepper spray.
Later that day, Marine Patrol Officer Wes Dean was in the area investigating the gear cutting. Dean said in his report that when he arrived at the dock he saw Janan Miller, Bunker’s daughter, with a shotgun in her hand. She was pointing it at Young, Dean reported.
Dean said he then heard two shots, and saw Bunker with a .22-caliber revolver in his hand. Dean immediately ordered him to drop the gun. Dean said he then saw Young on the ground with a wound to his neck. Ames was by his side.
In their own affidavits, Young and Ames claimed the Bunkers staged a coordinated attack that day.
But Bunker claimed that Ames and his daughter struggled over the shotgun and that he shot because he feared for her life.
“I had no choice. I wasn’t going to let her get shot,” Bunker later told Knox County Deputy Donald Murray.
Bunker is free on $125,000 bail and has been ordered not to set foot on Matinicus or to have any contact with Young or Ames.
Bullet fragments remain embedded close to Young’s spine and cannot be removed because of the risk of further injury. The shot left Young with limited use of his arms and “almost total paralysis of his hands,”