A flotilla of lobster boats and other vessels was expected to gather Sunday in the waters off Bremen to scatter the ashes of Roger Feltis at sea.
Feltis, 28, was killed last month on Vinalhaven in what was ruled a homicide. Last week, the Knox County grand jury declined to indict Dorian Ames, 27, and Briannah Ames, 29, in his stabbing death.
“It’s going to be a hard day,” Shannyn Prock of Nobleboro, a longtime friend of Feltis’s, said Friday. “We shouldn’t be burying our best friend.”
The slain man’s girlfriend, Jennie Candage of Vinalhaven, said that she was expecting many boats to join. Feltis, who moved to Vinalhaven from Waldoboro to take a job as sternman on a lobster boat, had lived on the island for less than a year before his death. His friends and family said he had a big heart and love for his young daughter, girlfriend and the sea.
“He was really loved,” Candage, 27, said. “He’d give the shirt off his back to anybody. I called him my big, goofy redneck. He just laughed and said I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Although Feltis will be laid to rest Sunday, peace will be hard to come by for many of the people who loved him, Candage and others said.
“We’re not going to get closure until we find justice,” Candage said. “We’re not going to find peace until we get justice for him, whether it’s in this lifetime or the next lifetime.”
She and other islanders, and those who were close to Feltis, agreed that it did not feel that justice had been done when the grand jury did not indict either of the Ameses.
In a Facebook Live video posted last week by the couple, they said that they had acted in self-defense and didn’t mean for Feltis to die. Dorian Ames’ defense attorney, Jeremy Pratt of Camden, told the Bangor Daily News on Friday that he was delighted to see the grand jury make a “deliberate, independent decision.”
But the lack of closure — and the many questions that they feel have yet to be answered about Feltis’s death — has been hard for Candage and others to accept.
“He’s gone, and they’re acting like his life didn’t even matter,” Prock said. “Roger deserves a fair trial.”
Candage said that Feltis had been troubled for months by the Ameses.
She and Feltis spoke to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy who covers Vinalhaven four days before the fatal interaction, but she said the deputy indicated reluctance to talk to the Ames because he did not want to aggravate the situation. The effectiveness of police has been called into question in this case because they’ve been thinly stretched on the island for years.
She said she was with Feltis the night he was killed and was called to be a witness during the grand jury hearing. What happened in the hearing room is secret. Candage can’t talk about it, other than to say she was questioned for probably 10 or 15 minutes. She doesn’t know if other people who were there that night were called to be witnesses, too.
“I feel like it wasn’t investigated,” she said. “I feel like the people who were there should have been questioned more. It seemed very one-sided.”
The Vinalhaven community has come together in solidarity after Feltis’ death, Candage said, and that has been a balm at a difficult time.
“The whole island is just infuriated and upset and cannot believe what’s going on right now,” she said. “I haven’t spoken to a single person who’s not completely outraged and baffled.”