DEXTER, Maine — A domestic violence assault charge against a former sergeant with the Milo Police Department was dismissed Monday by the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office because of too many conflicting statements.
Damien Pickel, 42, of Dexter, was arrested in March after his then-wife reported that she had been assaulted by him in mid-February. Pickel was accused of grabbing his wife and slamming her into a closet door and wall on Feb. 17 in Dexter. The woman also accused Pickel of pushing his weight on her while trying to pin her down to get a debit card from inside her pocket.
After the arrest, Pickel, a former New York City police detective, was placed on administrative leave without pay. Soon after, he resigned from the Milo Police Department.
“I evaluated all the evidence, and after doing that there were just too many conflicting statements for me to be able to prove [guilt] beyond a reasonable doubt,” Penobscot County Assistant District Attorney Maggie Gray said Monday. “I have an obligation to bring cases to the court that I can prove.”
“It was a very serious case,” Gray noted.
She said an investigation was done by Dexter police and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, and that she thoroughly reviewed all the evidence and took considerable time reading the victim’s statements, witness statements and the police reports. There were just too many questions in her mind, she said, because of all the conflicting statements.
The case was dismissed Monday when Pickel was scheduled to be in court for a conference at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.
Gray said the dismissal had nothing to do with Dexter Police Chief Jim Emerson’s involvement in the case. Pickel also is a Dexter Police Department reserve officer.
Emerson is a personal friend of the couple and he initially took the call regarding the alleged assault.
The woman said she called Emerson hoping that he would talk with Pickel. She told Emerson
that she didn’t want Pickel to get into trouble or lose his job and declined to file charges initially, according to police reports. The woman reportedly showed Emerson the fingerprint-shaped bruises on her wrists and arms and Emerson agreed to talk to Pickel about the incident, according to a police affidavit. Emerson told the woman that he was required to file an incident report.
In her statement to police, on Feb. 22, the woman said she told Pickel to stay away from the house, but on Feb. 28, after he had returned from a visit to New York, Pickel called her, according to the police reports. She said Pickel was very angry and said he had been served divorce papers at work. He told her, “You better watch your step,’’ she said.
A few days later, the woman told police that her 3-year-old daughter found bullets on a nightstand that she believed had been left by Pickel purposely as a sort of message to her. She told police that she later found a shotgun and two boxes of shells missing from the house. On March 8, the woman decided to write a statement regarding the events, and Pickel was arrested.