Jurors on Monday found a New York man guilty in the 2017 shooting death of a New Gloucester woman in the Washington County town of Cherryfield.
After deliberating for about four hours, the jury of 12 people found Carine Reeves, 40, guilty of the murder of Sally Shaw, 55 of New Gloucester.
Shaw’s body was found in July 2017 in Cherryfield by a passing motorist on Route 193, according to court documents. Reeves faces between 25 years and life in prison for murder. He will be held without bail until his sentencing, which is not yet scheduled.
Reeves didn’t appear to react Monday when the verdict was read.
Shaw’s daughter, Heather Senechiame, said that her family was relieved by the guilty verdict. Senechiame, who with her son and brother, was in court through the two weeks of the trial, said sitting through the trial was the hardest part.
“The state did an amazing job bringing to light everything,” she said. “It was hard, but we were here from beginning to the end.”
In closing statements on Monday, prosecutors said they had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Reeves shot Shaw, based on the evidence and the testimony of 22-year-old Quaneysha Greeley of Lewiston, who was in the car with Shaw and Reeves when the shooting happened.
Reeves’ attorney, Stephen Smith of Augusta, argued that Greeley, who also has been charged with Shaw’s murder, was the one who killed her.
His trial was the first murder trial to be held since the coronavirus shuttered courts in March. Their operations have been limited since.
The trial, which lasted about two weeks, took place with precautions that included masks for everyone, social distancing and the closure of the courtroom to the public so jurors could sit spread out where an audience typically would. Family members and members of the public watched a video stream of proceedings from another room in the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.
Reeves initially objected to the requirement that he wear a mask, arguing that it could make him appear guilty to jurors because masks are often associated with the commission of crimes. But Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart denied Reeves’ request.
Smith said that both he and Reeves were disappointed by the verdict. He hinted at an upcoming motion the defense team plans to file, which could lead to a delay in the sentencing, but he did not elaborate. He also said Reeves plans to appeal the verdict to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
“It was very, very different than what we traditionally do,” Smith said of the trial arrangements. “Wearing a mask, the vocal issues, the seating arrangements all took a lot of work.”
Smith said he would contest the face covering requirements for defendants in the future.
“A Black man wearing a mask being judged by the jury and being asked to be identified by witnesses, I think, is very problematic,” Smith said. “Wearing masks in a jury trial is, to my mind, a very dangerous proposition.”
Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who was part of the prosecution team, said she was pleased with the verdict.
“Today has been a long process for Sally Shaw’s family and the community of Washington County, and it’s nice to have closure today,” she said.
Reeves’ trial was highlighted by testimony from Greeley, who described her involvement with Shaw in Reeves’ drug operation and the trip to Machias to try to find new buyers for drugs that resulted in Shaw’s death.
On the day Shaw died, the three of them were traveling from Machias to Bangor. Shaw started provoking Reeves by insulting the mother of his children, and didn’t stop after Reeves and Greeley asked her to, the 22-year-old said in court.
Reeves, who was driving, hit Shaw, pulled the car over and dragged her out of the car while Greeley remained in the passenger seat, Greeley said. He pulled Shaw over to the side of the road, shot her and left her body there, she said.
During the trial, Reeves also objected to his legal representation, asking Smith to be removed from his legal team because he was not questioning witnesses to his satisfaction. But Stewart also denied that request from Reeves.
“These things are high stress for clients,” Smith said Monday after the verdict was announced. “As defense lawyers, we understand that.”
Smith did not say whether he would continue to represent Reeves through the appeal process.