PORTLAND — If Daudoit Butsitsi shot Serge Mulongo in self-defense, why didn’t he tell police?

That line of questioning was recurrent in Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea’s cross-examination of Butsitsi on Tuesday at his murder trial in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Butsitsi, 25, is accused of shooting Mulongo, 24, six times in an entryway of their apartment building in Parkside on Feb. 10, 2010.

Butsitsi has testified that he feared Mulongo and brought a gun for protection when he went to their apartment to collect his belongings and leave. He said he fired when he saw a gun in Mulongo’s hand.

Police said they did not find a gun on Mulongo’s body, but he had a glass pipe in his left hand.

Zainea asked Butsitsi why he didn’t go to police after shooting Mulongo. Butsitsi said that if he was going to tell anybody, it would have been Mulongo’s family. He said he thought police would arrest him.

“That night, I wasn’t thinking about telling anybody,” he said. “I can’t explain to you my thoughts at the time.”

The prosecution and defense finished presenting their cases Tuesday. Closing arguments are expected today. Butsitsi will face at least 25 years in prison if he is found guilty of murder.

Earlier in the trial, Butsitsi described his close friendship with Mulongo. But Mulongo grew increasingly violent, he testified, and Butsitsi decided on the day of the shooting that he had to move out of the apartment.

Butsitsi said Mulongo had a couple of guns, a machete or two, and knives.

Police did not search Mulongo’s bedroom for guns, according to a roommate, Alvin Ruhamuriza.

He testified that after Mulongo’s death, a friend came to collect some of his belongings, as did his girlfriend, and other friends took items as mementos. Ruhamuriza testified that he believed Mulongo had two guns, and that Mulongo showed him one that he described as his favorite.

Zainea pointed out inconsistencies between Butsitsi’s testimony and his interview with detectives after the shooting. She noted that he tried to mislead police by telling them that he was in Massachusetts on the night of the shooting, and by claiming that he didn’t know Moses Okot well.

Video surveillance captured Okot pumping gas into Butsitsi’s Dodge Intrepid at a gas station on Congress Street that night.

Okot pleaded guilty to felony murder – a lesser offense than murder – in the case. He was accused of driving the getaway car after the shooting.

Zainea questioned why Butsitsi told a police detective that he sold marijuana but did not give police information that was relevant to the shooting.

“You were comfortable telling him that, but not that you shot Serge in self-defense?” she asked.

Butsitsi failed to tell police that he was afraid of Mulongo, and that Mulongo had gotten into fights with two other men and had threatened Butsitsi’s life, even though he testified about those things on the witness stand, Zainea said.

“I didn’t want to tell him anything. I felt he might use it against me,” Butsitsi said at one point.

Zainea asked Butsitsi if he felt disrespected on the day of the shooting. The two men fought in their apartment, and later, on the street, Mulongo punched Butsitsi through an open window of Butsitsi’s car.

Butsitsi said he had been disrespected by Mulongo many times before that day. He repeated his assertion from his testimony that he was both mad and fearful for his life that day.

Zainea noted that Butsitsi told a detective he wasn’t afraid of anyone, but that he is now saying he feared Mulongo.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Butsitsi said.

Anthony Sineni, Butsitsi’s court-appointed lawyer, asked him whether he trusted police.

“Who’s going to believe self-defense?” Butsitsi asked. “Where I come from, there’s no such thing as self-defense.”

Butsitsi was born in Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo. His family fled civil war and spent time in a refugee camp before moving to Kentucky and, in 2008, to Maine.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]