A Caribou police sergeant testified Wednesday that a Presque Isle man accused of manslaughter admitted to police that he kicked the victim in the face during a fight in October 2017. Prosecutors allege the blow led to the Caribou man’s death 18 days later.
Jonathan Limary, 23, is on trial in Caribou Superior Court on charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault stemming from the death of 44-year-old Jean C. Bragdon of Caribou on Nov. 17, 2017.
Assistant Attorney General Robert Ellis told jurors during opening arguments on Tuesday that Bragdon and Limary were strangers to each other until the evening of Oct. 30, 2017, when the fight happened in the parking lot of a Caribou business.
Bragdon went to the parking lot to fight another man, Andrew Geer, 20, of Caribou, according to Ellis, but Limary brutally kicked a “defenseless” Bragdon in the face after Geer had knocked him down to his knees.
Bragdon suffered devastating facial injuries, including broken and shattered facial bones, and required two reconstructive surgeries, according to court testimony. Approximately 10 hours after he was released from the hospital following his second surgery on Nov. 17, 2017, Bragdon collapsed and died in the arms of his best friend, Jason Willette Sr. of Caribou.
Willette Sr. testified Tuesday that the fight stemmed from a dispute between Geer and Jason Willette Jr. on Facebook over nasty comments being made about Brittney Willette, who is Willette Sr.’s daughter and Willette Jr.’s sister. Bragdon, who was visiting the Willettes, saw the comments, took offense and also started messaging Geer.
The two men then arranged to meet in the parking lot of a Caribou business where Geer testified Tuesday that the two scuffled for roughly 90 seconds, with both landing punches and ending up on the ground. Geer said they then broke apart but that Limary, who had gone with Geer and others to the parking lot, kicked Bragdon in the face while Bragdon was still down on his knees.
Caribou Police Sgt. Keith Ouellette testified Wednesday that he interviewed Limary at the police station about the fight. Ouellette played a recording of the brief interview, during which Limary is heard confirming that he kicked Bragdon in the face. Limary did not state a motive during the taped interview, but expressed remorse for his actions.
Also on Wednesday, Jean-Luke Brabant, a paramedic for the Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department, walked the jury through photos that showed a bloody, deceased Bragdon sprawled on the floor of the bathroom of the Willette house.
Willette Sr. testified the day before that Bragdon was recovering at the Willette home from his surgery, but that Bragdon started bleeding badly on Nov. 17, 2017.
Willette said he tried to help Bragdon, but that blood was running down his neck, and his friend “couldn’t breathe and was gasping for air,” before he collapsed.
Brabant testified that when paramedics arrived to treat Bragdon, they found no pulse. Despite resuscitative efforts that lasted more than a half-hour, they pronounced Bragdon dead at the scene.
Attorney Adam Swanson, who is representing Limary with Attorney Hunter Tzovarras, told jurors during his opening argument Tuesday that Limary’s use of physical force against Bragdon was necessary to protect himself and others. Swanson said that Limary did not cause Bragdon’s death. Under cross examination, both Jason Willette Sr. and Jason Willette Jr. testified that Bragdon was still furious after the fight and wanted to get back up again to confront the others.
Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II is presiding over the trial which will resume Thursday.