June 18, 2018
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Judge denies bail to man convicted in Orono hit-and-run death

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Garrett Cheney listens as closing arguments in the hit-and-run case against him are presented at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor in July 2011.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The man convicted in the hit-and-run death of a University of Maine student two years ago in Orono will remain in prison while his appeal is pending.

Garrett Cheney, 23, of South Berwick was sentenced to 15 years, with all but seven years suspended, for manslaughter in the death of Jordyn Bakley, 20, of Camden.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson on Friday denied a motion to release Cheney on bail while he appeals his conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Anderson, who presided over Cheney’s trial in July and sentenced him on Dec. 7, said in his two-page decision that he was “not aware of the existence of any factors that would decrease the likelihood that [Cheney] could operate under the influence again, and thereby pose a risk to others, if he were released on bail.”

In addition to manslaughter, Cheney was found guilty of aggravated criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury and criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants.

On Jan. 25, Anderson heard oral arguments on the bail motion submitted by Cheney’s attorney Timothy Zerillo of Portland. Zerillo is handling the appeal. The judge’s decision, dated Jan. 27, was emailed Monday to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office.

The judge also denied an oral motion for postconviction bail made by Cheney’s trial attorney, William Bly of Biddeford, after the sentencing. Cheney was free on bail of $50,000 surety until he was sentenced.

Last week, Zerillo argued that because Cheney had “no problems” while on preconviction bail, he should be released while the appeal is pending.

Penobscot County District Attorney Christopher Almy, who successfully prosecuted the case, argued at the hearing on the motion that Anderson’s decision at Cheney’s sentencing was “fair and appropriate and should stand.”

“I think the court made the correct ruling with respect to Mr. Cheney’s situation,” Almy said Tuesday of Anderson’s denial of the motion for bail. “He was convicted after a long and fair trial and he didn’t deserve to be on bail while awaiting appeal.”

Efforts to reach Zerillo on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

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