ELLSWORTH, Maine — A vehicular manslaughter case that appeared to be on the verge of a plea agreement last summer looks instead like it is heading for a trial next month.
The trial of Steven H. Moon, 23 of Surry has been scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 19, and is expected to last three days, according to documents filed in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court.
Moon has been charged with manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants and causing the death of someone while operating a motor vehicle after suspension. The charges stem from a May 2011 car crash on Newbury Neck Road in Surry that killed Caleb Foster, 27, of Stonington.
Moon had reached a deal last year with the Hancock County district attorney’s office to plead no contest to the charges. According to court documents, Moon was to receive a sentence of 15 years in prison with all but two suspended, but last August, Justice Robert Mullen rejected the deal Moon had struck with prosecutors. Mullen’s reason for rejecting the plea deal was not evident in court documents.
Moon’s defense attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, said Tuesday that Mullen rejected the plea deal because he thought it was too lenient on the defendant.
McKee said he plans to argue at the trial that Joshua Rafferty, who was in the car at the time of the accident, was the actual driver instead of his client.
“Mr. Moon has no memory of the accident,” McKee said.
Attempts Tuesday to contact Hancock County District Attorney Matthew Foster were unsuccessful.
Moon is alleged to have been the driver of a 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon when it went off the road about 9:30 p.m. May 28, 2011, and then rolled several times, according to police. Foster was one of three passengers in the car when the accident occurred.
Moon and two other people — his sister Christina A. Moon and Rafferty — were ejected from the vehicle but survived, despite all suffering significant injuries, according to police. Foster was not ejected and died as a result of the crash.