CARIBOU, Maine — Sixteen months after he was arrested, jury selection is expected to begin next week in the trial of a Presque Isle man charged in the death of a woman who has been missing since 1998.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said on Monday afternoon that jury selection in the case against George Jaime Sr., 76, would begin on Nov. 4 in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton, with an anticipated trial date of Nov. 12.
Benson said that he did not anticipate there would be any last minute plea deals and that the state would move forward with a trial.
Jaime was arrested on July 12, 2012, at The Star City Trading Post, the pawn shop he operated on Main Street in Presque Isle. He was charged in the death of Starlette Vining of Presque Isle, who was 38 years old at the time of her disappearance.
Vining last was seen alive in the fall of 1998 in the Presque Isle area.
Vining’s body has not been found.
Jaime has been held at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton since his arrest on a charge of intentional or knowing murder and has never been allowed a bail hearing.
Attorney Alan Harding of Presque Isle represented Jaime at his initial court appearance in July 2012.
Vining and Jaime were in a relationship in 1998, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
According to Vining’s missing-person profile on the state police website, she last worked at Smythe’s IGA in Presque Isle. That store closed in July 2007. Described as a dependable employee, Vining suddenly stopped going to work in the fall of 1998 and never returned to pick up her last paycheck.
Vining’s former husband and her three now-adult children told police that they had last seen her in 1998.
Maine State Police Detective Josh Haines said that family members reported her missing in October 2006. The detective said the family was not close, and Vining tended to relocate often. She did not always keep in touch with her family, but she never was out of their lives for more than a few years at a time, he said.
Harding successfully argued for a judge to seal an affidavit and search warrant filed by Maine State Police, which has prevented details about the case from being released to the public. Few details have been released about what led police to Jaime.
Correction: An earlier version of this story requires correction. George Jaime Sr. will be tried in Houlton, not Caribou.