Testimony continued Tuesday afternoon in the trial of 57-year-old Randall Hofland of Searsport, and former Searsport Police Officer Jessica Danielson spent more than three hours on the witness stand giving her version of what transpired during a traffic detail in the fall of 2008.

For much of those three hours, Danielson answered questions that were posed to her by Hofland, the man who allegedly pointed a gun at her during the traffic detail on Route 1 in late October 2008. Hofland is acting as his own lead attorney in the case.

Danielson remained composed throughout her testimony, though she grew visibly and audibly emotional when she was asked to revisit the night of the Oct. 23, 2008, traffic detail, when Hofland allegedly pointed a gun within a foot of her abdomen.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau asked Danielson what happened after she and her fellow officers began wrapping up the seat belt and safety detail for the evening.

Danielson said her attention was drawn to a vehicle that had stopped about 100 feet ahead of the detail and activated its high beams.

“I was yelling instructions to the driver to pull forward and to turn the high beams off,” Danielson recalled.

Danielson explained that in a traffic detail situation, it is unsafe for a driver to keep their high beams on because the officers involved cannot see inside the vehicle.

“They can see me but I can’t see them,” she said.

“As you were approaching the vehicle, did you hear anything coming from the vehicle?” asked Rushlau.

“The driver told me to get the [expletive] out of his way,” said Danielson, noting that the driver, who was later identified as Hofland, appeared to be speaking in an angered, escalated tone.

At that point, Danielson said, she could see the driver was male, and she continued to approach the vehicle while also holstering the metal flashlight she was holding. Rushlau asked Danielson why she put away her flashlight, and Danielson said the situation was becoming a potential danger to her and her fellow officers.

“With the driver not following my instructions, I needed to have both hands free,” said Danielson.

“Once you got directly next to the driver’s side what did you do?” asked Rushlau.

Danielson said she continued yelling instructions to the driver, and upon arriving at the driver’s side of the vehicle she reached in to switch the headlights to the low-beam setting.

“As you reached inside to move the lever, what did you observe about an object that was in [the] possession of the driver?” said Rushlau.

“A gun,” Danielson replied.

When Rushlau asked Danielson how the weapon was positioned, she stated that the firearm was positioned against the driver’s breastbone and pointed at her chest.

“My first thought was, ‘This man’s going to kill me,’” Danielson said.

Danielson said she turned sideways to the driver’s side window in an attempt to prevent being hit directly in the chest if the gun were discharged.

“I remember yelling ‘Gun!’ several times,” she said.

Danielson said while she was wearing a bulletproof vest that night, she said she still felt as though she was about to be injured when she approached the vehicle.

Danielson said as she started yelling about the gun, the driver took off and went into the opposite lane of travel. Officers moved away to avoid being struck by the vehicle, she said, and then it proceeded down a nearby dirt driveway.

Danielson said because she was no more than a foot away from the driver and the gun, she was able to get a general description of the driver — a male, in his 50s, with a beard, who was of average height and weight, and who was wearing a blue jacket.

“That was the best I was able to give for a description at that time,” Danielson said.

Once the vehicle took off, Danielson said she climbed into a Searsport police cruiser and followed Sgt. Steven Saucier, who was trailing the vehicle in another Searsport cruiser.

Rushlau asked Danielson if she recalled what the lighting was like in the vicinity of the detail, especially at the point when she initially approached what was later determined to be Hofland’s vehicle.

“You felt comfortable putting away your flashlight?” he said.

“Correct,” said Danielson.

Danielson said after assisting officers in the pursuit of the vehicle, she radioed a description of the driver in to the Waldo County Regional Communications Center and then gave that same description to officers who were at the scene.

From there, Danielson said she remained at the command post, which was set up nearby in the driveway of The Red Kettle antique store in Searsport. She said she remained there for much of the overnight with the exception of a trip to Belfast with Maine State Police Trooper Jonah O’Roak. The purpose of that trip, said Danielson, was to go see Judge Patricia Worth with the intention of obtaining an arrest warrant for Hofland.

For much of the evening of Oct. 23 and into the early morning hours of Oct. 24, though, Danielson said she thought it was best to remain inside the Maine State Police van that was set up at the command post. She particularly addressed her state of mind after having seen a gun pointed at her chest.

“I saw my life flash before my eyes; it was pretty traumatic,” she said.

Danielson also recalled riding out to Alan Blood’s Towing in Belfast with Officer Darrin Moody sometime Oct. 24, where Hofland’s vehicle was being held in the impound lot. There, Danielson said, she and Moody were taking an inventory of the contents of the vehicle, which at that time had been identified as a Subaru.

The officers weren’t there long, though, as Moody located what appeared to be ammunition in a lunch box inside the vehicle. Moody identified the ammunition as that which would be used for a 40-caliber handgun. Danielson said the officers contacted Searsport Police Chief Dick LaHaye, who called for the inventory to stop immediately.

The ammunition, as well as a cell phone that Danielson said she located on the drivers’ side of the vehicle, were turned over to LaHaye.

At that point it was daylight out, and Danielson said the media was arriving to collect information about the events at the traffic detail. As Route 1 was being re-opened to traffic, Danielson said she prepared to end her shift and head home.

Rushlau asked Danielson what she did when she returned home.

“I allowed myself to cry for about 30 seconds and then I started fielding phone calls,” she said.

When she returned to work Oct. 26, Danielson said, she submitted her report regarding what had occurred at the traffic detail.

Rushlau asked Danielson if she was able to tell whether or not the gun was loaded at any time during the incident.

“Any time there is a weapon pointed at us we have to assume it’s loaded,” she said.

Rushlau also asked Danielson if she is familiar with different types of handguns due to her line of work and through her training.

“Yes,” replied Danielson.

Rushlau asked Danielson if she knew what type of gun was pointed at her on the night of Oct. 23.

“It was a Glock,” she said.

Danielson said she had identified the gun as a Glock at some point that same evening while she was speaking to other officers who were at the scene.

Rushlau then asked Danielson if she got any information from a man named Gary Boynton about Hofland, to which Danielson replied, “No.”

When it was Hofland’s turn to cross-examine Danielson, he initially attempted to ask her if her recent departure from the Searsport Police Department — Danielson left the department in mid-December and has since relocated to Florida — had anything to do with a conflict she may have had with an individual within her own department, a line of questioning that Rushlau objected to immediately. Justice Jeffrey Hjelm sustained the objection and directed Hofland to continue on with his questions.

“You testified that I was a danger to the police officers,” said Hofland.

“It was a danger to have the high beams turned on, that’s what I testified,” she said.

Hofland continued to question Danielson about how she approached his vehicle during the traffic detail, and asked how much exposure she had had to Glock handguns.

Hofland then asked Danielson about her state of mind on the night of the traffic detail, inquiring about how upset she was following the incident involving the gun.

“When I had the gun to my chest, yes, I was traumatized,” she said.

Danielson said while fear was one of the feelings she experienced that night, she also felt angry and frustrated.

“Do you have that problem with other events as part of your work with the police department?” asked Hofland.

Danielson replied that while she may feel a certain way about an incident she covers as an officer, her training taught her to focus on the task at hand, no matter how rattling a situation may be.

“I was in the mindset that I needed to perform my job, and my job was to make sure no one else got hurt,” she said.

Hofland then asked Danielson if she took any prescription medication, or if she had ever been diagnosed with a psychological disorder, but Rushlau quickly objected to the line of questioning and Hjelm ruled the objection sustained.

Hofland also addressed the Oct. 28, 2008, search warrant that police obtained to search his vehicle after Danielson and Moody located the ammunition in the initial inventory search days before. Hofland provided Danielson with a copy of the affidavit that supported the search warrant and had her read through it with him as part of her testimony.

Hofland attempted to ask Danielson if she had included in that affidavit a statement regarding Hofland being on a watch list in New Hampshire after he allegedly threatened a judge in that state, but Rushlau and Hjelm found that line of questioning objectionable as well.

For the final 10 minutes of testimony, Rushlau called LaHaye to the stand, but the day’s session wrapped up before Rushlau could finish questioning the witness.

As Hjelm was excusing the jurors for the day, he received word the county would close the courthouse in anticipation of a winter storm that is forecast to hit the Midcoast Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Testimony is scheduled to continue Thursday morning, Jan. 13 at 9 a.m..

Hofland alleges cell phone was mistaken for gun

During the morning session on Tuesday, Jan. 11, Hofland’s questions for witnesses and an outright statement to Hjelm indicated that he was trying to prove that police mistook his cell phone for a gun.

Hofland completed his cross-examination of Saucier at Waldo County Superior Court on Tuesday morning.

Before the 15-member jury, which includes nine women and six men (several of whom are alternates), entered the courtroom Tuesday morning, Hofland inquired about a black plastic cell phone case that he said was taken as evidence after he was taken into custody at the Stockton Springs Elementary School Oct. 31, 2008.

Hofland said the black case was always on the cell phone that he had on the night of the Oct. 23, 2008 traffic detail, where he allegedly pointed a gun at Danielson.

Rushlau said a review of the items in a bag that police seized on the day of Hofland’s arrest contained no such phone case.

Hofland said the case was an important piece of evidence, as he intended to use it to prove that police “mistook my cell phone for a pistol.”

Hjelm told Hofland that since the state maintains that there is no missing evidence, and there was no indication that the case was missing in the years leading up to Hofland’s trial, then Hofland would need to make his point another way.

Hofland also stated that despite his requests for complete audio and video accounts of the night of the traffic stop, including any recordings of a phone conversation between a dispatcher at the Waldo County Regional Communications Center and Private Investigator Gary Boynton, he did not receive them in their entirety.

Boynton’s name came up during Saucier’s testimony Monday, when footage from the video recorder in Saucier’s cruiser captured a conversation between Saucier and then-Maine State Police Trooper Jason Andrews. In the tape, Andrews stated that Hofland may have been the subject of one of Boynton’s investigations and expressed interest in contacting the private investigator to possibly learn more about Hofland.

Rushlau said he did not know if the state had the recording of Boynton’s conversation with dispatch, but Hjelm asked Rushlau to work with his staff to see if he could locate that specific recording.

Hofland added that the recordings he did receive appeared to be edited, and asked that the jury have the chance to review the state’s recordings and compare them to the ones that the state provided Hofland for his defense.

“That is so the jury can see that the state did not produce all of the discovery that it is required to do,” said Hofland. “… I’m being prosecuted for crimes that the state knows I did not commit.”

Testimony began at 9:35 a.m., and consisted of the continuation of Hofland’s cross-examination of the former Searsport police sergeant.

Hofland asked Saucier to go over his own written statement regarding the night of Oct. 23, 2008, and if Danielson had ever identified the type of gun that she said Hofland pointed at her during the traffic detail.

“At any point in time did she tell you she saw a Glock?” asked Hofland.

“I don’t recall,” said Saucier.

Hofland then went into a line of questioning that suggested he was holding a cell phone instead of a gun when Danielson first approached his vehicle.

“How could you hold the steering wheel while you still had a cell phone in your hand?” asked Hofland.

Hofland presented Saucier with his cell phone and then asked Saucier to demonstrate what the phone might look like if it were held with the bottom side pointed outward, and Saucier obliged.

Hofland’s next sets of questions were met with almost immediate objections from the prosecution, which were just as rapidly sustained by Hjelm.

At one point, Hjelm reminded Hofland to refrain from “making comments or statements during the examination of a witness.”

From there, Hofland brought up the issue of lighting — or lack of it — during the 2008 traffic detail.

“If you had something in a dark space, or a dark room, and someone had in their hand something black, might you mistake that for a pistol in a dark space?” said Hofland.

“The barrel of a handgun is very distinct to me,” said Saucier.

Hofland then asked Saucier a series of questions about semi-automatic handguns that were brand-specific, and asked Saucier to explain the differences in appearance between those firearms.

During Rushlau’s opportunity to redirect, Rushlau referred to Saucier’s statement about his report of the Oct. 23, 2008 incident; specifically, how Saucier arrived at the decision not to include information on the make or model of the gun in his report.

“Are you saying that she said she didn’t know what kind of gun it was, or that you didn’t know?” asked Rushlau.

“I didn’t know what kind it was,” said Saucier.

Later in the morning, Hofland continued questioning Saucier about the lighting at the location of the traffic detail, and particularly questioned whether or not his cell phone could be mistaken for a Glock handgun.

“If it was dark, and the lighting was poor, are you still certain you could identify that as either being or not being a Glock?” said Hofland.

“I believe I could,” said Saucier.