MACHIAS, Maine — The chief medical examiner testified Wednesday afternoon that the Oakfield couple Matthew Davis is accused of killing more than three years ago were dead before the fire that badly burned their bodies and damaged their home was set.
Dr. Mark Flomenbaum took the stand on the second day of Davis’ trial at the Washington County Judicial Center.
Davis, 35, is accused of killing Michael Kitchen, 51, and Heidi Pratt, 49, on Sept. 23, 2013, then setting their house ablaze and fleeing in a stolen pickup truck. He also is accused of stealing other vehicles, setting other fires and damaging property.
Flomenbaum said that Pratt died of a single gunshot wound to the neck. She bled to death after a large caliber bullet struck her carotid artery, he said.
Kitchen was struck by a dozen bullets that caused multiple internal injuries and massive internal bleeding, the medical examiner told jurors. Eleven of the wounds were caused by medium caliber bullets and the 12th wound by a large caliber bullet similar to the one recovered from Pratt’s body.
Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber said in his opening statement that Davis shot Pratt and Kitchen first with a handgun. Davis then went to the truck he’d arrived in, retrieved an assault rifle and fired it into Kitchen’s body before setting the house on fire, the prosecutor told jurors Tuesday.
Under cross-examination by Davis’ attorney, Daniel Lilley of Portland, Flomenbaum admitted there was “a microscopically slight possibility” that the couple died as a result of a murder-suicide but added that that scenario was not probable.
On Wednesday morning, William and Shannon Lloyd, who lived next door to the victims, both testified that they were awakened about 4 a.m. Sept. 23, 2013, by the sound of gunshots. Pratt was Shannon Lloyd’s aunt.
William Lloyd testified that he initially heard three or four shots, then, a few minutes later, heard an additional 10 to 12 shots rapidly fired.
Both said they saw a male with dark hair in a buzz cut with wide eyes drive Kitchen’s truck out of the couple’s garage through the closed door but did not recognize him that morning. The next day, William Lloyd identified the man driving Kitchen’s truck as Davis, he told the jury. William Lloyd said he saw a photo of Davis published on the Bangor Daily News’ Facebook page and recognized him.
The two men took a motorcycle class together about four years before the slayings, William Lloyd testified. He said that at that time, Davis had long hair, which he wore pulled back into a ponytail.
Under cross-examination by Lilley, William Lloyd denied that Davis was a friend but admitted he had socialized with him occasionally years before the slayings.
Shannon Lloyd said she never was able to identify the man who fled the scene in Kitchen’s pickup.
Davis faces charges of murder, arson, theft and criminal mischief. He has been held without bail since his arrest the day Pratt and Kitchen died three years ago.
The bodies of Kitchen and Pratt were found after firefighters were called to put out the fire. Although previously published reports said that their bodies were found in a bedroom, Oakfield firefighters testified that the bodies were found in the combined kitchen/living room area. A semi-automatic rifle was found on Kitchen’s chest.
Firefighters also found another truck belonging to Katahdin Forest Products on fire at the home when they arrived. Police believe Davis’ crime spree started earlier that morning at the forest products facility in Oakfield, where a flatbed wrecker truck registered to Davis had been backed into the building.
The truck and office had caught fire. Police said video surveillance from that site showed the same white company truck that was found burning at the Kitchen home leaving the facility.
The truck Davis allegedly drove from the Kitchen home was found burning later that Monday morning on Richardson Road in the neighboring town of Island Falls. Another firearm found inside that vehicle belonged to Davis, according to the affidavit.
Police eventually tracked down Davis and arrested him at about 10:45 a.m. Sept. 23, 2013, in another stolen vehicle on Beaver Dam Point Road in Island Falls, according to the affidavit.
The trial initially had been scheduled to start in Houlton in September. Davis’ attorneys, Lilley and Amber Tucker, had sought to move it to Portland, arguing that extensive pretrial publicity about the case would make it difficult to find an impartial jury in Aroostook County.
Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter originally denied the motion in August but moved the trial from Houlton to Machias in September, after a jury could not be seated in Aroostook County.
The selection process started Dec. 1 in Machias, and after four days, a jury was finally selected and seated Tuesday afternoon.
Testimony is expected to resume Thursday with the Maine State Police who were first on the scene taking the stand as the prosecution continues to establish the timeline of Davis’ alleged crime spree. The trial is expected to take 2½ to three weeks.
If convicted, Davis faces up 25 years to life in prison on the murder charges. Maine law allows life sentences when there are multiple victims.
BDN writer Jen Lynds contributed to this report.