BANGOR, Maine — The Amityville, New York, man charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of a Bangor man last year is expected to plead guilty to a manslaughter charge on Nov. 5 at the Penobscot Judicial Center, according to the Maine attorney general’s office.
Akeem T. Harris , 25, pleaded not guilty on April 26, 2013, to intentional or knowing murder in connection with the death of Thomas N. Taylor, 30, of Bangor on April 9, 2013. Harris, who was a student at Eastern Maine Community College at the time of the stabbing, claimed he acted in self-defense.
In exchange for his plea, the prosecution will recommend a sentence of 18 years in prison with all but 12 suspended, followed by four years of probation, according to defense attorney Richard Hartley of Bangor.
The murder charge is expected to be dismissed when Harris is sentenced. A sentencing date has not been set.
Taylor died of a single stab wound to the back at Eastern Maine medical center a short time after he was stabbed about 6 p.m. in the parking lot of Birch Circle apartments on Ohio Street in Bangor. Witness accounts differed about what happened, according to the affidavit. One witness told police that both Harris and Taylor approached each other with knives.
“She said that they stabbed back and forth, but neither appeared to be getting stabbed,” the affidavit stated. “ She called it a ‘knife war.’ [The witness] told me that Taylor dropped his knife and when that happened, he picked up a child’s toy (trike or scooter) and held it up to protect himself. She said that Taylor threw the toy at Akeem. She added that Akeem then threw the toy at Taylor. She told us that Akeem was cut on the arm, and Akeem stabbed Taylor in the back.”
The affidavit said that “knive(s) were found on the ground near the victim.”
Harris is a friend of the victim’s former neighbor who had previously had confrontations with Taylor, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit does not give details about what led to the dispute between the former neighbors, but it does state that Harris did not appear to be part of it.
Harris, who has been held without bail since he turned himself in two days after being indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury on April 24, 2013, was scheduled to go to trial in December on the murder charge.
He faces up to 30 years in prison on the manslaughter charge. If convicted of murder, he would have faced between 25 years and life in prison.