Porter, Thompson accept agreements in exchange for guilty pleas
Belfast — The Jackson man accused of the shooting death of a Florida firefighter and the Belfast man facing charges of threatening an officer with gun pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 3, in exchange for a deal from the state.
Daniel Porter, 25 of Jackson, accepted a plea deal from the state that dismissed the murder charge in exchange for pleading guilty to manslaughter, Porter’s attorney Jeffrey Silverstein said.
Porter could face up to 30 years in prison with all but 20 years suspended and four years of probation, Silverstein said. When Porter returns to court April 22, Silverstein can argue for less time.
When Porter made his initial court appearance March 2, 2012, he pleaded not guilty. However, Silverstein said, after reviewing all of the evidence, he and Porter believed there was high likelihood that going to a jury trial would result in a similar outcome as the plea deal.
Silverstein said Porter also wanted to spare his family and the Perdomo’s from the stress of a jury trial.
Silverstein said he would argue for less time during the sentencing hearing in April.
According to previously published reports, Porter is accused of shooting and killing 31-year-old Jerry Perdomo, of Florida, during an argument in which Perdomo allegedly made threatening comments towards Porter’s girlfriend Cheyanne Nowak and her child.
During Porter’s initial court appearance, Maine State Police Detective Brian Strout, who was the lead investigator in the case, testified that Nowak met Perdomo at Dyshart’s in Hermon at Porter’s request, and that Perdomo then followed her to a Hadley Mill Road residence in Jackson to meet Porter.
Prior to that meeting, Lisa Gould of Bangor told police that Perdomo, with whom she had a romantic relationship, took a Glock .45-caliber handgun, his wallet and two cell phones to meet someone who owed him money, according to previously published reports.
Court documents indicated Perdomo was meeting with Porter to discuss a $3,000 debt.
Porter’s case was scheduled to go to trial beginning Monday, April 22.
Benjamin Thompson, 28, of Belfast entered his guilty plea at Waldo County Superior Court Wednesday, April 3. In exchange for the plea, the case was continued for two years on a deferred disposition, according to Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker.
The deal requires Thompson remain on $1,000 cash bail with special conditions that he cannot use or possess alcohol, illegal drugs or dangerous weapons — including firearms, Walker wrote in an email.
He must also submit to random searches of his residence, vehicles and person. Thompson must also sign and obey a contract with Volunteers of America and attend and complete psychological and substance abuse counseling to the satisfaction of Volunteers of America.
As long as he abides by his bail conditions and does not commit any new crimes, he can withdraw his plea to the felony charge, which will be reduced to a misdemeanor criminal threatening charge and pay a fine of $500, Walker wrote.
If Thompson is not able to abide by the bail conditions then his plea to the felony criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon charge will stand and he would go to sentencing with no plea agreement, Walker wrote.
He is scheduled to appear for sentencing on the charges of operating under the influence, failure to stop for an officer and possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle at 1 p.m. Monday, April 22.
According to previously published reports, 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 allegedly stepped out of the vehicle and brandished a shotgun. Fitzpatrick reportedly ordered Thompson to drop the weapon, and when Thompson did not comply, Fitzpatrick shot him.
Tanya Mitchell contributed reporting to this story.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.