July 20, 2019
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Suspect in death of Franky the dog back in jail until trial

Courtesy of Hancock County Jail
Courtesy of Hancock County Jail
Justin Chipman, 23, of Steuben

A Hancock County man accused of killing a dog named Franky last summer is back in jail for violating bail conditions from a previous terrorizing conviction in 2016, officials said Monday.

Justice Robert Murray on Friday ordered Justin T. Chipman, 23, of Steuben, held on a new charge of violation of conditions of release during a hearing at Hancock County Superior Court.

Prosecutors filed a motion in January and successfully argued Friday that Chipman violated the conditions of his release with his arrest in the case involving Franky and that he should be in jail until his case involving Franky comes to trial. No trial date has been set, a court clerk said. Chipman is being held at Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth.

Chipman is facing charges of burglary, two counts of theft, aggravated criminal mischief and aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with the shooting death last summer of Franky, who belonged to a Winter Harbor fisherman.

Chipman and Nathan Burke are accused of breaking into the home of Phil Torrey, kidnapping Franky and then killing him the night of Aug. 24, 2018, when Torrey and his girlfriend had traveled out of state to attend a concert.

photo courtsey Phillip Torrey | BDN
photo courtsey Phillip Torrey | BDN
Franky, a dog owned by Winter Harbor resident Phillip Torrey.

photo courtsey Phillip Torrey

The dog was found dead six days later on a local beach by the wife of Hancock County District Attorney Matthew Foster.

Chipman and Burke had previously worked for Torrey on his boat, according to Torrey.

Franky was killed when Chipman was on administrative release following his conviction on three misdemeanor charges stemming from a 2016 incident in Gouldsboro in which he fired a gun at another man’s house and left a threatening note in the man’s car as part of a fishing dispute.

Foster has said that Chipman was placed on administrative release in January 2018, rather than probation, because the court did not see the need to require Chipman to stay away from certain activity — aside from criminal behavior — or to maintain regular contact with a probation officer.

“Administrative release is used when there would be no real benefit to probation, but we still want to have some way to monitor a defendant’s continued abstinence from committing crimes,” Foster said in an email two months ago. “It is basically unsupervised probation.”

Chipman’s defense attorney, Robert Van Horn of Ellsworth, did not respond to messages seeking comment on Chipman’s case.

BDN reporter Bill Trotter contributed to this report.


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