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After a jury was seated Monday evening in the trial of a Bar Harbor man accused of raping and killing a teenage friend last June, testimony in the trial is expected to get under way in Ellsworth Tuesday morning.
Jalique Keene, 22, is charged with murder in the death of Mikaela Conley, 19, whose body was found June 2, 2018, in the woods between Conners Emerson School and West Street Extension in downtown Bar Harbor.
A jury of nine women and six men, including three alternates, was picked for the trial after 6 p.m. Monday, following roughly nine hours of 150 or so potential jurors being questioned by Keene’s defense attorneys and the state prosecutors handling the case.
Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin soon after 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, with testimony expected to get underway immediately thereafter.
According to Maine State Police, on May 31, 2018 — the day before she was killed — Conley traveled to Logan Airport in Boston to pick up Keene, who was returning after having played football for an amateur team in Serbia. Keene and Conley were friends, having attended Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor together, with Keene graduating in 2015, when Conley was a sophomore.
Keene later told police that after they got back to town he had hung out with Conley at her home on Eden Street, across the street from Conners Emerson School, and in the surrounding neighborhood.
Conley died early the next morning of blunt force trauma to her head and by strangulation, Detective Tom Pickering of the Maine State Police wrote in an affidavit filed in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court. Pickering wrote in the document that a security camera at the school recorded Keene carrying Conley’s apparently lifeless body across part of the school grounds.
The killing shocked and alarmed Bar Harbor, which is better known as a picturesque seasonal tourist destination and gateway community to Acadia National Park. Between June 2, when searchers found Conley’s body in a section of woods near the intersection of Route 3 and West Street Extension, and the evening of June 4, when Keene was arrested, police released no information about whether they had any possible suspects or whether there might be any ongoing threat to the public.
Keene, 21, was indicted last August by a Hancock County grand jury on charges of gross sexual assault and murder. If convicted of the crimes, Keene could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on the rape charge and an additional 25 years to life in prison on the murder charge.