November 17, 2018
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Prosecution rests in Bethea murder trial, defendant to take stand Tuesday

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Antoinne Bethea (center) is escorted into the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. Bethea, 41, of New Haven, Connecticut, is accused of killing Terrance Durel Sr., 36, of New Orleans on April 16, 2017 outside a home near the corner of Highland Avenue and Ohio Street in Bangor.

The prosecution rested Monday in the murder trial of a man accused of shooting to death the father of his girlfriend’s son on Easter Sunday 2017 outside a Bangor apartment.

Antoinne “Prince” Bethea, 41, of New Haven, Connecticut, is accused of killing Terrance Durel Sr., 36, of New Orleans on April 16, 2017, outside the home Bethea shared with Durel’s estranged wife, Danielle Durel, 44, at 2 Highland Ave. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of intentional or knowing murder.

Bethea is expected to take the stand in his own defense Tuesday. He has claimed he acted in self-defense but will have to counter earlier testimony that Bethea started the fight with Durel.

Daniel Lane, 72, of Bangor, the father of Bethea’s girlfriend, testified Monday that when he returned home on Easter after being out of town, it appeared his house had been “slightly ransacked.” He said that there was hair in a bathroom sink and Bethea’s safe was missing from a closet.

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Assistant Attorney General Donal Macomber show the murder weapon to the jury during opening arguments on the first day of Antoinne Bethea’s trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor Monday. Bethea, 41, of New Haven, Connecticut, is accused of killing Terrance Durel Sr., 36, of New Orleans on April 16, 2017 outside a home near the corner of Highland Avenue and Ohio Street in Bangor.

In his opening statements last week, Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber told the jury that Bethea went to the elder Lane’s home after the shooting, cut off his dreadlocks, stole a safe and fled the state.

Bethea was arrested more than a month later in Euclid, Ohio, during a traffic stop, according to court documents. He has been held without bail since then.

The prosecution’s final witness, forensic expert Robert Burns of the Maine State Police crime lab, testified under cross examination that the trigger of a gun could be pulled accidentally in high stress situations such as a fight. Burns determined that the gun was very close to the shooter when it was fired.

An eyewitness to Durel’s shooting testified last week that Bethea started the fight that ended with two or three gunshots.

Dawn Gagnon | BDN
Dawn Gagnon | BDN
Bangor police converged on Ohio Street to investigate a report of a shooting shortly after 3 p.m. April 16, 2017, near the intersection with Highland Avenue.

Stephen “Primo” Lancaster, 38, of Las Vegas, Durel’s boyhood friend and godfather to his son, testired last week that he and Durel were in Bangor the week before Easter. Lancaster, who said he and Durel sold drugs while they were in town, was granted immunity to testify.

Lancaster told the jury that his godson, Terrance Durel Jr., now 9, of Bangor, spent Friday night into Sunday with his dad and him at a Bangor motel. After lunch on Easter, the two men and the boy stopped by the Highland Avenue apartment so the boy could change clothes. The men had planned to take the boy fishing.

Over lunch, Durel had texted his wife saying he wanted to talk with her and Bethea about his son, Lancaster said.

Bethea pushed Durel, Lancaster testified. He said that Durel took a swing at Bethea. Lancaster said he “tackled” both men when Bethea had Durel pinned to the hood of a car.

All three men were on the ground scuffling when Bethea began reaching into his back pocket for a gun, Lancaster said.

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Antoinne Bethea in the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor Monday on the first day of his trial. Bethea, 41, of New Haven, Connecticut, is accused of killing Terrance Durel Sr., 36, of New Orleans on April 16, 2017 outside a home near the corner of Highland Avenue and Ohio Street in Bangor.

“I tried to grab the gun, but I couldn’t reach it,” Lancaster testified. “The gun went off two, three times. I heard my friend say, ‘I’m hit.’ I grabbed Terrance and held him to my chest with his back to me. I pulled up his shirt and I could see the bullet hole in his stomach.”

Bethea fled the scene and Danielle Durel, who now uses her maiden name Lane, took the victim to Eastern Maine Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The trial before the jury of 11 men and four women, including three alternates, is expected to end Wednesday. Testimony began Aug. 20. Due to scheduling issues and a jurors reported illness, the jury took Thursday and Friday off.

Before the trial began, Bethea rejected an offer from prosecutors to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for a prosecution recommendation that he serve 25 years.

If convicted of murder, Bethea would face 25 years to life in prison.

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