Joseph Dumas Appeal 

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court was in Bangor Wednesday to hear the appeals of two murder convictions.One was the case of a Prentiss man found guilty of murdering his best friend.Meghan Hayward has the story.Last May, Joseph Dumas of Prentiss was convicted of shooting Mario “Sonny” Litterio in the back of the head back in November of 2007.Dumas was sentenced to 30 years in prison.His attorney, Peter Cyr, took issue with jury instruction given during the trial.”Frankly, that instruction from the appellant’s perspective was erroneous. In that it doesn’t really instruct the jury correctly in that Mr. Dumas at the time of this offense was intoxicated. He had been using cocaine. His thoughts were fleeting, his thoughts were a wreck. He didn’t have any recollection. He wasn’t having any thoughts.”Cyr says Maine law requires you have to have a conscious thought before killing someone.”And our position was frankly that instant before is just not enough. You have to have that thought formed in your mind and you have to think it through and then you have to act in a way that’s producing conduct and here, instant just doesn’t do it. It’s not enough time.”Assistant Attorney General, Don Macomber, says since Maine has been a state, trial judges have been instructing jurys that intent can be formed in an instant.”There was nothing wrong with the written instructions that went to the jury. And frankly even if the written instructions hadn’t included the impulse fleeting language that Mr. Cyr was taking an issue with, that language is also correct because that language has been used in Maine murder trials at least for the last 35 years.”During the trial, the defense argued Dumas was in a cocaine-induced psychosis and therefore, committed the lesser crime of manslaughter.”It can be reckless and he can be guilty of manslaughter, but it’s not intentional murder.””I’m reasonably confident that the murder conviction of Mr. Dumas will stand.”