BELFAST, Maine — A man accused of killing a Florida firefighter in February in a drug-related shooting pleaded not guilty to murder Wednesday afternoon in Waldo County Superior Court.
Daniel Porter, 24, was indicted last month by a Waldo County grand jury and charged with one count of intentional or knowing murder in the slaying of Jerry Perdomo.
Police have said that Porter shot the 31-year-old Perdomo in the side of the head with a semiautomatic rifle on Feb. 16 at a rented home in Jackson after the two men had a dispute over drugs. Perdomo, a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Seminole County Fire Department, reportedly had been coming to Bangor once a month for nearly a year in order to illicitly transport and sell prescription drugs from Florida.
On the day he was killed, Perdomo packed a gun and two cellphones and told his girlfriend, Lisa Gould of Bangor, that he had to go collect a debt, according to Maine State Police Detective Brian Strout, who testified at Porter’s bail hearing in March at Waldo County Superior Court.
Porter’s girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak, met Perdomo at a Route 69 gas station and led him to the rural Jackson home where Porter was staying.
She then left the house to pick up her toddler while the two men were inside playing pool together, Strout said.
Porter later told police that he had owed Perdomo $3,000 and that Perdomo had threatened him and his family. One of the alleged threats was made public during Porter’s bail hearing.
Porter said Perdomo told him he would erase $500 from the debt if Perdomo could rape Nowak on the pool table.
After Perdomo was shot, his body was wrapped in blue tarps and then moved several miles to the woods near Porter’s grandmother’s home on Dahlia Farm Road in Newburgh, according to Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea.
Nearly two weeks later after a widespread search effort that included local police, wardens and firefighters from Florida, police found the body on a red sled off a woods path.
Police had arrested Porter and charged him with homicide the day before finding Perdomo’s body after discovering skull fragments and blood drops in the rented Jackson home.
Porter was denied bail during a March hearing at Waldo County Superior Court.
At that hearing, the courthouse was crowded with 75 or so of Porter’s family members and friends who donned yellow T-shirts after the hearing was over that read, “We Support The Right To Protect Our Families.”
After Porter was charged, his defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor said that the shooting was not an unprovoked incident.
“I think more facts will come out,” he said in March.
Some of Perdomo’s family members came to Maine to search for the missing firefighter and his widow, Tonya Perdomo of Orange City, Fla., attended Porter’s March bail hearing.
Family members shared a statement Wednesday morning before the arraignment.
“We as a family are still heartbroken and mourning the loss of Jerry,” the statement emailed from his brother-in-law Chris Lerch of Florida read. “Words truly can’t explain the feeling of shock and disbelief that still sets in when we think about Jerry being gone. We are very proud of the man he was. He served his country, his community and dearly loved his children. He is desperately missed by all, but especially by his mother. Even though we aren’t able to be there for the arraignment, we love him, and will continue to support him in spirit. We have complete faith in our Heavenly Father and in the State Attorney that the whole truth will be revealed, and justice will be served for Jerry.”