Knox Man Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Death of Best Friend
A jury has found Luke Bryant, 20, of Knox, guilty of manslaughter. He shot and killed his best friend, Tyler Seaney, 19, in February of last year. Seaney died of a gunshot wound to the neck. It was up to the state to prove that Bryant was reckless or criminally negligent back on February 19, 2011, when he pointed a gun at Seaney.After four days in court and several hours of deliberation, the jury reached their guilty verdict on Friday afternoon.That morning they had listened to both sides give their closing statements.The state argued that Bryant was trying to scare Seaney that night in a game the two often played by pointing unloaded guns at each other.”They waited behind doors or the corner of a room, jumped out and pulled the trigger, that’s what they did,” said Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea in her closing statements.But the defense argued that on February 19, they weren’t playing that game. His attorney Steven Peterson said Bryant was clearing what he thought was an unloaded gun when it accidentally discharged as Seaney walked into the room.”He contended throughout the trial and even long before that that the gun went off while he was trying to clear it. The question then is, was the fact that he had the gun in the direction of the bathroom that Tyler was located, was that by itself recklessness? And that’s where the difference between the state and the defense exists,” said Peterson, outside of court.In the end, the jury sided with the state which argued that even if Bryant was just clearing the gun, not playing the game, his behavior was still reckless enough to be found guilty.Zainea said, “The facts were that the defendent was aware of guns, he’d handled guns in the past and he pointed the gun in the direction of Tyler Seaney without checking if it was loaded and then he pulled the trigger. Under Maine law that’s recklessness.”We’ll never know if the jury agreed that Bryant was playing a game that night, but what we do know is that in this game, there are no winners.”The loss of a friend is a huge loss to Luke,” Peterson said.Zainea said, “Obviously, Tyler is no longer with this family and it’s a signficant loss to them.”And now Bryant is in custody away from his family members, who were very emotional as they watched him being taken away.Bryant will be held without bail leading up to his sentencing date on October 3rd. He faces anywhere from four to thirty years behind bars.