Man shot by officer to be retried on criminal threatening charge
Belfast — A man who was shot by a Belfast police officer during a June 2011 traffic stop will be retried on the one charge jurors were unable to arrive at a decision about at the end of his October trial.
Following the criminal trial of 28-year-old Benjamin Thompson of Belfast, jurors returned guilty verdicts on three of the five charges he faced in connection with the June 8, 2011, traffic stop — keeping a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, operating under the influence (with one prior conviction) and failure to stop for a police officer. Jurors additionally found Thompson not guilty of threatening display of a weapon, but told Justice Robert Murray they were deadlocked after four hours of deliberation on the criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon charge.
Tuesday, Dec. 4, Waldo County Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker said Thompson's sentencing hearing, which was tentatively scheduled to take place Thursday, Nov. 29, has been continued because the state intends to retry Thompson on the criminal threatening charge.
Court documents state that Thompson initially caught the attention of law enforcement when Searsport Police Officer Eric Marcel attempted to stop his vehicle for a loud exhaust on Brock Road.
When Thompson arrived at the intersection of Route 141 and Smart Road in Belfast, Belfast Police Officer Dan Fitzpatrick executed the traffic stop. Thompson then reportedly stepped out of the vehicle and brandished a shotgun. Fitzpatrick, according to court records, ordered Thompson to drop the weapon. When Thompson did not comply, Fitzpatrick shot him.
Thompson, a veteran of the Iraq war, was arrested at a relative's home in Searsmont on June 29, 2011, after he was released from Maine VA Medical Center in Augusta, where he was treated for his wounds. Thompson has since been free on $5,000 cash bail, and he has remained free on post-conviction bail since the conclusion of the trial.
Thompson's military service was a key element of his defense throughout the three-day trial. During the trial, Thompson's defense attorney, Steven C. Peterson, argued Thompson's actions on the night of the incident were directly linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition Peterson and several of the defense's expert witnesses contended Thompson suffers from as a result of two tours he completed in Iraq.
Walker told The Republican Journal the trial would likely move ahead in February 2013.