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Unity man accused of threatening to kill sheriff

By Stephen Betts | Apr 30, 2020

Unity — A 51-year-old Unity man is being held at the Somerset County Jail in Skowhegan after being arrested Wednesday afternoon, charged with threatening to kill Waldo County Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton.

David Smith made his initial appearance on the charges Thursday, April 30, via video conferencing at the Knox County Courthouse. Judge Paul Mathews set bail at $5,000 cash.

Smith was arrested April 29 at an apartment complex in Unity and charged with domestic violence assault, assault, terrorizing, criminal mischief and two counts of violating a condition of release.

According to a police affidavit filed in court, the Sheriff's Office responded to an assault report in Unity. When deputies arrived at the apartment complex, a man reported that his neighbor, who later turned out to be Smith, had come to his apartment and was pounding on the door and kicking it with steel-toed boots.

The victim said he opened the door to tell Smith to stop, Smith grabbed him and they fell outside on the deck, according to the affidavit.

The man reported that he also had seen Smith grab a woman by the neck earlier in the day and push her against the wall. Deputies spoke with the woman, who confirmed that she had been assaulted in that manner.

Smith was arrested and initially taken to the hospital for a cut he suffered in a scuffle with the male victim. While at the hospital and later at the jail, Smith said at least two dozen times that he planned to kill Trafton, according to the affidavit.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Noble told Mathews the threats made by Smith were serious, graphic and violent. He also threatened other law enforcement officers, according to the affidavit.

Noble asked for bail to be set at $25,000 cash, pointing out that this was the third assault arrest for Smith since November. The first occurred in November in Kennebec County, the second occurred in December in Waldo County and the victim in that case was the same as in the April 29 incident, Noble said.

The earlier cases remain pending, the prosecutor said.

Smith has a criminal record including convictions in New Hampshire in 2004 for robbery, she said.

The state has asked that bail be revoked for Smith on the earlier offenses. Smith's next court date is June 23.

Smith spoke at the end of the hearing, against Mathews' advice. Smith claimed he had filed federal complaints against the sheriff and that the sheriff had illegally evicted him. He also claimed he had been targeted by the Sheriff's Office.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: EDWIN (BUD) NESBIT | May 01, 2020 11:08

Noble asked for bail to be set at $25,000 cash, pointing out that this was the third assault arrest for Smith since November.

Judge Paul Mathews set bail at $5,000 cash.

I would love to know Judge Mathews' rationale for setting bail so much lower than what Ms. Noble had requested.



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