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Fisherman Assault Trial Begins — Update 

Wayne Harvey

Day one of the trial of Vance Bunker and Janan Miller of Matinicus Island began in Rockland Monday morning.They’re charged in connection with a shooting of another fisherman, Chris Young, on Matinicus Island in July of 2009.Both sides agree there was a shooting and Bunker pulled the trigger, but they differ on the reasons why.District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau says the trial is about the use and misuse of firearms and the case is not a mystery and Vance Bunker did pull the trigger on that Monday morning last July. “But what you won’t hear is that Chris Young and Weston Ames had a weapon. They were completely unarmed. They were angry. They were using anger, but they were unarmed and then Janan Miller appeared with a loaded shotgun.”Bunker’s Attorney Philip Cohen says Bunker and Miller had been harassed leading up to those events and the shooting was a result of dire circumstances, he believed his family was in danger. “You know what Vance Bunker had done in less than 24 hours?” asked Cohen. “He had called law enforcement not once, not twice, not three times. Four Times. Four times in less than 24 hours he called and he said we need someone out here. We need help. This is out of control we’re afraid.”So afraid that after one reported incident, a member of the Maine Marine Patrol, Officer Wesley Dean, boarded the boat of Janan Miller’s husband, Alan Miller, and rode with him back to the wharf on that morning.Dean was the first witness called. Rushlau explained what Dean was hoping to find out while he was on board Miller’s boat. “He had a very specific purpose in mind when he came in on Alan Miller’s boat. His purpose was to see if he could identify who might be responsible for some misconduct among this group of fishermen who were all pointing the finger at one another about things that people had supposedly done.”Justice Jeffrey Hjelm expects the jury to have the case for deliberations on Wednesday.