HOULTON, Maine — The lead prosecutor in the case against a St. Francis man who is accused of killing his former girlfriend said Tuesday that the victim was stabbed 11 times by her assailant and shot at close range.
Jury selection, which started Monday, ended in time for opening statements to begin Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of Jesse Marquis, who is accused of killing Amy Theriault, a 31-year-old mother of two, at her home in St. Francis on May 31, 2014.
Marquis, 40, listened intently as the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General John Alsop, told the jury that Marquis killed Theriault in a rage the day after she went to a camp where he was staying and ended their little more than 1-year-old live-in relationship.
Alsop said that a couple with Theriault at the time, Josh and Jamie Pelletier, “recognized the volatility of the situation” and asked Theriault to stay with them at their home that night in Fort Kent.
Theriault declined, so the couple stayed with Theriault at her St Francis home. Her children were not home that night.
Shortly before 5:45 a.m on May 31, Marquis traveled to Theriault’s home at 754 Main St., Alsop said, and stabbed the victim “in the chest, arms, head, eye and hand.”
He then put the knife down on a nearby bureau, loaded a round into a Remington 710 .30-06 caliber rifle, “put the gun against her chest and pulled the trigger,” Alsop said.
“Marquis finally and forever ended her life by doing that,” the prosecutor told the jury.
More than a dozen members of the Theriault family sat stoically in the courtroom listening to the opening statement.
Alsop outlined for the jury the exhibits and physical evidence that the state plans to use to prove that Marquis is guilty of the crime, including more than 60 photographs, testimony from the state medical examiner about the fatal injuries suffered by Theriault, and testimony from both Josh and Jamie Pelletier. The prosecutor said the Pelletiers will testify to awakening at Theriault’s home in a confused, frightened state to find Marquis with a knife in front of Theriault. Jamie Pelletier’s 911 call for assistance also will be introduced, he said, in which she tells the dispatcher that Marquis “has a gun” before he leaves the home after he allegedly committed the murder.
Marquis ran into the woods behind the house, touching off an intensive six-day manhunt that ended with his capture in St. Francis about a mile from Theriault’s home. He has been held at the county jail since his arrest.
Alsop told jurors Tuesday that the evidence also will show that a deformed bullet found in Theriault’s body during the autopsy was consistent with one that was fired from the murder weapon, and that an empty gun case for the rifle was found near Theriault’s body. He added that boots recovered from Marquis after his arrest were the same boots he was wearing when he murdered Theriault, and that evidence will show that the boots were stamped with the victim’s blood.
Marquis also was captured in possession of the Remington 710 .30-06 rifle used in the murder, Alsop said.
Alsop said the knife used in the crime, a Gerber camping knife with a 3-inch blade, had a broken tip. He said that evidence will show that a stab wound that Theriault suffered in her skull contained a fragment of the metal from the knife tip.
Attorneys Stephen Smith and Dan Umphrey are representing Marquis.
In a brief opening statement, Umphrey told the jury to remember that Marquis is entitled to the “presumption of innocence,” and asked them not to make up their minds too quickly in the case.
“I plead with you and I pray you keep an open mind,” said Umphrey.
Jury selection was held in Houlton Superior Court because the courtroom was large enough to gather a jury pool, court officials said. The trial moves to Caribou Superior Court on Wednesday.