BELFAST, Maine — Was Victoria Scott reasonably defending herself when she stabbed a Belmont man repeatedly in the leg, or did she pursue and provoke the scuffle that ended in his death?
That’s one of the main questions facing jurors as they weigh whether Scott is guilty of manslaughter.
Edwin Littlefield, 43, bled to death in a pickup truck parked in the driveway of Rose Newton’s residence on Kendall Corner Road in Waldo on a cold evening, Feb. 8, 2017.
Littlefield and Scott were friends with Newton. Both stayed at Newton’s home on occasion and visited regularly, but were not close themselves.
Newton, who is in her 60s, was recovering from chemotherapy treatments in the winter of 2017, and Scott and Littlefield both came over or stayed from time to time to help walk the dog, bring water or do other household chores.
Scott formerly dated Rose Newton’s son, Jesse Newton, who is serving 12 years in federal prison for illegally having a firearm. The relationship ended, but Scott and Rose Newton stayed close, according to testimony.
On Feb. 8, Littlefield visited with a friend, Felicia Newton, Rose’s niece who lives up the road. He allegedly said he had “concerns” about Rose and her relationship with Scott and Scott’s friend, Josh Dorman, who were both staying at Rose’s home.
Littlefield didn’t trust, or much like, Scott or Dorman, according to court testimony.
“He believed Victoria and Josh were taking advantage of [Rose],” Felicia Newton said.
Littlefield left to check on Newton, walking to her house and arriving sometime around 6 p.m. He went to talk to Newton, telling her she shouldn’t trust Scott and Dorman, using several obscenities to describe Scott.
Littlefield then left the house and started walking down the driveway.
Scott and Dorman overheard what Littlefield said. Rose Newton said that after Littlefield left, Scott rushed to a bedroom, put on jeans and a coat, and ran outside. What happened when Scott left the house is at the heart of this trial, but only Scott survived to tell her side of the story.
A few moments later, Newton testified, she heard shouting in the driveway, and called Felicia Newton asking her to come down because she feared there would be a fight.
It was too late. When Felicia Newton arrived, she saw blood in the driveway and Littlefield’s leg sticking out of Rose’s pickup. Littlefield was “covered in blood,” she said. He wasn’t responding and had no pulse.
Felicia Newton called 911 and started CPR until the sheriff’s office and an ambulance arrived, but no one could get Littlefield’s heart going again.
Assistant Attorney General John Alsop said Monday that Scott was infuriated by what she heard Littlefield say about her, and, armed with a small switchblade, pursued Littlefield into the driveway as he was trying to leave, with the aim of provoking a confrontation.
“She lost her temper,” Alsop told jurors during opening statements. “She went after Ed, she stabbed him, and he died as a result.”
Scott told police and Rose Newton, who also testified, that Littlefield had attacked her, pushing her to the ground, and straddling her will striking her and choking her. She said she pulled the switchblade out of her coat pocket and stabbed him in the leg until she could kick free.
“She was not trying to kill him,” defense attorney Steven Peterson told jurors. “It was pure and simple self-defense.”
But prosecutors told jurors that Scott’s story changed multiple times in later interviews, and that Scott didn’t suffer injuries consistent with the beating she described.
Alsop said Scott had been drinking vodka that Newton bought for her earlier that day, and prosecutors say she had a blood alcohol level of 0.123 around 8:30 p.m. the day of the incident. Littlefield also had two 16-ounce beers at Felicia Newton’s house before walking to Rose Newton’s.
Dorman’s alleged role in what happened that night is still in question. Peterson, said that a large puddle of blood found in the basement indicates that Littlefield tried to enter the house and was stopped by Dorman, who may have fought or pushed Littlefield to the ground. Dorman either dragged or led Littlefield into the truck where he bled to death, according to Peterson.
Again, investigators say Dorman’s story changed multiple times.
Dorman has not been charged with any crime stemming from that night.
It’s unclear whether Dorman will testify or if he’ll invoke his constitutional right against testifying to avoid incriminating himself. Prosecutors were prepared to question him Monday, but the court called in an attorney to ensure he understood his rights.
Dorman and his attorney said he’d be willing to answer some questions, but might want to plead the Fifth on others.
Justice Robert Murray said Monday that he wasn’t comfortable with allowing that sort of piecemeal testimony, so Dorman might agree to answer questions or refuse to answer any at all.
The jury, made up of 10 women and five men, including alternates, visited the Waldo home.
Jurors arrived on a bus, and Murray led them to the house and highlighted a few points of interest that attorneys would refer to during the course of the trial — a dead log lying next to the driveway, the truck where Littlefield’s body was found, a large blue school bus used for storage, a front door leading into the basement, and a back door.
Prosecutors, Scott and her attorneys watched, but weren’t allowed to speak to the jury.
Prosecutors will continue calling witnesses Tuesday. The trial is expected to wrap up late this week.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.
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