BANGOR, Maine — A Hudson man charged with slaying a Bradford contractor was released on bail in time to spend the holidays with his family, but Peter Robinson, 48, of Bradford still faces murder charges.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson on Dec. 23 found there was probable cause to charge Robinson with intentional or knowing murder and depraved indifference murder in the death of David P. Trask, 71, Robinson’s attorney, Thomas Hallett of Portland, said in telephone interview Friday.
Anderson then set bail at $30,000 cash or $150,000 surety. Robinson put up his Hudson property, located on the Bear Road, as bail, according to court documents.
Judges rarely grant bail to a person charged with murder.
“The judge found he was not a danger to himself or others,” the attorney said. “He used his judicial discretion to grant bail.”
Robinson is living at Wellington Manor in Wells, according to court documents.
Bail conditions call for Robinson to live outside Penobscot County. He is only allowed into the county for court hearings, his bail bond states.
Robinson also is prohibited from having contact with more than 50 individuals, most of whom live in Hudson, Bradford, Corinth or Charleston.
They most likely are related to the victim or are potential witnesses.
The probable cause hearing began on Dec. 2, when Robinson also pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge continued it but did not set a definite date until mid-December.
Hallett argued on Dec. 2 at the Penobscot Judicial Center that Robinson should not have been charged with murder because he struck Trask in self-defense. The defense attorney admitted after that hearing that it would be unusual for a judge to not find probable cause for charges after a grand jury had indicted an individual.
Robinson was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury on Nov. 30.
Hallett’s self-defense argument is based, in part, on information in the affidavit that described a history of disputes between Robinson and Trask over alleged trespassing and a right-of-way issue.
Trask died of head injuries with extensive fractures, Deputy Medical Examiner Michael Ferenc testified on Dec. 2. The fatal blow “caved in his face” and injured the brain, the medical examiner testified. Ferenc said it was his opinion that Trask was on the ground, on his back, when he was struck in the face.
The medical examiner also testified that he found no defensive wounds on Trask’s body.
The affidavit described several previous encounters between Robinson and Trask and-or his relatives.
In February 2009, a Maine warden issued trespass warnings to Trask and five male relatives after Robinson complained they were hunting on his posted land, according to the affidavit. Robinson allegedly told the warden the next day, “If I ever catch them down in there again, I’ll probably kill them,” the affidavit said.
Earlier this year, Trask purchased a lot with a right-of-way on Robinson’s land. Cheryl Robinson, the defendant’s wife, allegedly told police who came to investigate Trask’s death that her husband had intended to confront Trask about an unlocked gate at the entrance to Bear Road.