PORTLAND – A Windham man was indicted Thursday on a charge of manslaughter, not murder, in the shooting death of a man who sneaked onto his property to steal marijuana.

Joseph Green, 44, told detectives that he shot at silhouettes among the pot plants growing on his property on Aug. 31. He said he later discovered the body of David Harmon, 40, on his land and dragged it some distance away from his home at 38 Roosevelt Trail.

Investigators found Harmon’s body and tracked the evidence to Green. They charged Green with murder, and prosecutors presented the case this week to a grand jury in Cumberland County Superior Court.

But the grand jury returned an indictment Thursday on the lesser charge of manslaughter. They also indicted Green on felony counts of reckless conduct with a weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, and aggravated cultivation of marijuana.

William Stokes, head of the criminal division in the state Attorney General’s Office, had no comment on the action by the grand jury.

“The whole case was presented, and those were the charges the grand jury voted to return,” Stokes said.

Green’s attorney, Jon Gale, could not be reached for comment late Thursday afternoon.

Under Maine law, a conviction for murder is punishable by a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison; manslaughter is punishable by a maximum term of 30 years.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, has said the investigation showed that Green and Harmon knew each other, and that Harmon walked onto Green’s land on the morning of Aug. 31 to steal marijuana.

Green told Maine State Police detectives that the shooting happened just one day after he shot at people who were trying to steal his marijuana plants.

Green has a criminal record that includes a conviction for cultivating marijuana in 2000, for which he received a 36-hour jail sentence.

He also was involved in a high-profile police chase in Windham in March 1992, after which he won a lawsuit against the town for its use of a police cruiser to block Route 302.

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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