State vs. Luke Bryant

Man convicted of fatally shooting friend appeals to state supreme court

Bryant argues court erred in denying motion to suppress statements to police
By Tanya Mitchell | Apr 08, 2014
Photo by: Tanya Mitchell Luke Bryant stands with his attorney, Steven C. Peterson, during his sentencing hearing at Waldo County Superior Court in October 2012. Bryant was convicted of fatally shooting his friend, 19-year-old Tyler Seaney, at his trial in August 2012.

Portland — A former Knox man who is serving a nine-year sentence for fatally shooting his friend at a Knox apartment in February 2011 is appealing his case to the state's high court, arguing that during his August 2012 manslaughter trial the court should have granted his motion to suppress statements he made to police.

According to the notice of the oral argument schedule for the Maine Supreme Court, former Knox resident Luke A. Bryant brought his appeal before the panel of justices Monday, April 7, through his attorney, Steven C. Peterson. Assistant Attorney General Lauren F. LaRochelle argued on behalf of the state.

The synopsis of the appeal, as outlined on the state supreme court website, details the nature of Bryant's appeal.

"Bryant argues that the court erred in denying his motion to suppress statements he made to the police following a shooting at his residence," stated the case synopsis. "Bryant contends that his statements should have been suppressed because they were made during a custodial interrogation without the benefit of Miranda warnings, and because Bryant was in a state of shock and extreme distress that rendered his statements involuntary."

During Bryant's sentencing hearing in October 2012 at Waldo County Superior Court, Justice Robert Murray imposed a total sentence of 15 years with all but nine years suspended and four years of probation following Bryant's release. One of the conditions the court ordered as part of Bryant's probation is that he will be barred from possessing or using dangerous weapons.

Also as part of his probation, Bryant must pay restitution in the amount of $3,158.

Bryant was convicted of killing a man he described at trail as his best friend, 19-year-old Tyler Seaney, at Bryant's Dolloff Road apartment in Knox on the night of Feb. 19, 2011. Bryant told police he was trying to clear his 12-gauge shotgun when he accidentally pulled the trigger as Seaney stepped out of the bathroom, but the state alleged Bryant was engaged in a scare game with Seaney when he raised the shotgun in his friend's direction and pulled the trigger.

Before the justice announced his finding, Bryant addressed the court and said he understood he would have to serve a "sizable sentence."

"Tyler [Seaney] was my very best friend, he helped me so much," said Bryant, his voice breaking as he spoke. "He was like a brother to me. I think about him every day."

There is no indication in the court schedule showing when the justices will render a decision on the appeal.

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