Justices are expected to hear oral arguments remotely on Monday afternoon in the case of the Millinocket man convicted of manslaughter in the death of a 6-month-old boy in 2014 who is asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to overturn his conviction because of a lack of evidence.
There is no timeline under which they must issue a decision.
Jessee Mackin, 37, was sentenced in November to 11 years in prison with all but 5 ½ suspended in the death of Larry Earl Lord. The baby died of a skull fracture on May 7, 2015, the medical examiner’s office determined.
The child’s father, 39-year-old Anthony Lord of Crystal, who is serving life sentences at the Maine State Prison in Warren, cited the boy’s death and his frustration over how long the investigation was taking as a reason for his July 2015 rampage that left two dead and three others wounded.
Mackin, who was found guilty a year ago after a jury-waived trial, is incarcerated at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. He took the stand at his trial and denied hurting the child. Mackin said the baby just suddenly went limp.
The baby’s mother, Jamie Clark, now 30, described Mackin as a doting father when she testified.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson found that although there was no testimony about how the baby’s skull was fractured, Mackin was responsible for his death because the defendant was the only person with him when the infant was stricken, according to a transcript of the proceeding.
“Based on the testimony that was admitted to at the trial, it was inescapable that the person who was with this child shortly before the child went limp is responsible for the death of the child,” Anderson said. “It’s just — and I acknowledge that one would expect to hear something happening in the adjoining room, which we didn’t really have.”
Mackin’s attorney, Stephen Smith of Augusta, argues in the appeal that Anderson’s conclusion was wrong. Both Clark and Mackin were present when the baby “went limp,” he said in his brief.
“There was no evidence that Mr. Mackin dropped Larry, or otherwise caused Larry’s injuries; and Ms Clark further testified that she did not hear any loud banging or other noise that would accompany a massive injury to Larry.”
Assistant Attorney Leanne Robbin, who prosecuted the case, called Smith’s argument “specious,” meaning superficially plausible but actually wrong.
“Mackin admitted that he was ‘the only adult with physical custody of the baby between the time he took one quarter to half a bottle of formula and he stopped breathing,’” she said in her brief. “Given the undisputed medical evidence that the injury had to have occurred during that time, the only conclusion that could be drawn is that Mackin inflicted the fatal injury on baby Larry.”