Asst. AG: Shooting of Glenburn Teen No Tragic Accident
The trial of a teenager from Knox accused of killing his friend began Tuesday in Belfast. Luke Bryant, 20, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter last year. In February 2011, Tyler Seaney, 19, of Glenburn died of a gunshot wound to the neck. Court documents said Bryant told police he was trying to scare Seaney by pulling the trigger on what he thought was an unloaded gun. Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea echoed that report, telling the jury Seaney’s death was no tragic accident. She said, “This was not the first time the defendant had pointed a gun at Tyler.”According to Zainea, the shooting was the deadly outcome of a “scare game” the two men played where they would point unloaded guns at eachother and pull the trigger. “They did this to get a reaction out of each other. That aha I got you reaction,” she said.Bryant initially told police he picked up the shotgun to “clear it” but Zainea said “low and behold” Seaney walked into the kitchen just as Bryant “cleared it” , pointed the gun at Seaney and it discharged. Bryant’s defense attorney, Steven Peterson, did not contest the facts of the case during his opening remarks. However, he argued that they do not show his client committed manslaughter. Petersen said the state must prove that Bryant recklessly or with criminal negligence caused the death of Seaney, and he doesn’t believe they will be able to do so. Petersen conceded that there is recklessness in this case, but said it is only evident in the way Seaney and Bryant handled guns. He told the jury that just because Bryant was reckless on the night Seaney died, does not mean he was criminally reckless.When the shotgun went off on the evening of February 19, Petersen said, “The response of Luke Bryant was horror. He did not know that gun was loaded.”Shortly after opening statements ended, jurors heard a recording of the 911 call made by Bryant. During his conversation with a dispatcher, Bryant sounded panicked and said, “There is blood everywhere.” As the dispatcher instructed him to perform CPR, Bryant began to sob and continually asked when help would arrive. The recording lasted about 15 minutes. While it played, the family and friends of Seaney seated in the courtroom broke down into tears.Wednesday, the state is expected to call members of the Maine State Crime Lab and Medical Examiner’s Office.