Man acquitted in 2004 shooting death indicted on arson, assault charges
Belfast — A Brooks man who was acquitted in the 2004 shooting death of a 60-year-old woman was indicted this week on charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly doused his wife's car in motor oil and set it on fire on the night of July 5.
A Waldo County Grand Jury indicted Jerome Reynolds, 62, of Brooks, on two counts of arson, criminal mischief, refusing to submit to arrest, terrorizing and assault.
The charges stem from a series of incidents that began when Reynold's wife went to a neighbor's home to call police at about 11:15 p.m.
At the time of Reynolds' arrest, Waldo County Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton said Reynold's and his wife had been arguing and the woman left the house and went to the neighbor's house.
When officers arrived at the neighbor's home to speak with the alleged victim, Trafton said, she initially wanted assistance with removing Reynolds from the house. But because police did not know if any assault had taken place the officers could not force Reynolds to leave. Instead, the officers walked the alleged victim back to her residence so she could retrieve a sleeping child and leave the house herself.
Trafton said as the officers drew closer to the home they saw a vehicle that had been doused with motor oil and set on fire — a vehicle the woman identified as her own. Sgt. James Greeley was able to put the fire out after a few minutes, and a short while later, the officers located Reynolds and observed motor oil on his hands and clothing, Trafton said.
As the officers attempted to take Reynolds into custody, Trafton said Reynolds put up a struggle and kept telling police he didn't want to go to jail. According to the grand jury indictment, Reynolds threatened to kill Greeley at one point as he and Deputy Dan Thompson were attempting to detain him, and also assaulted Thompson in he process.
Neither of the arresting officers were injured during the struggle, Trafton said.
Reynolds is scheduled to appear at Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast Thursday, Aug. 29.
In September 2005, a jury found Reynolds not guilty in the 2004 shooting death of 60-year-old Janet Bacon, who was identified in court records as his father's partner. He was also acquitted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Reynolds had been accused of killing Bacon in his home with a single shotgun blast to the face.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein said Reynolds felt horrible about what happened the night of Sept. 29, but "he truly believed he acted appropriately at the time." The not-guilty verdict, said Silverstein, meant "nothing more than the state's inability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Moments following the shooting, Reynolds told a 9-1-1 dispatcher at the Waldo County Regional Dispatch Center that he killed Bacon because she wouldn't leave his home. But when Reynolds testified before the jury in Waldo County Superior Court, he said he killed Bacon because he believed she would commit a further crime after bursting through the front door and knocking him to the ground.
In March 2009, a judge found Reynolds liable for Bacon's death in a wrongful death lawsuit. At that time, Justice Jeffrey Hjelm awarded Bacon's son, Linwood Walker, $308,108.50 in compensatory damages ($8,108.50 of which were to cover Bacon's funeral expenses) and $50,000 in punitive damages. Justice Hjelm also ordered Reynolds to pay court costs associated with the case.