FARMINGTON – A Franklin County grand jury may decide next month whether to indict Ryan J. Ouimet, 24, who is accused of manslaughter in the shooting death of a college friend in Farmington.

A status conference was held Friday in Franklin County Superior Court to update attorneys about the case, which has been on hold since May, said Deputy Attorney General William Stokes.

Another status conference was scheduled for two weeks before the grand jury meets on Sept. 15.

If the case is not resolved, it will likely go before the grand jury. An indictment is needed to proceed with a trial, said Stokes, whose office is handling the prosecution.

Ouimet, of Colts Neck, N.J., is charged in the shooting death of Andrew Holland, 23, of Cape Elizabeth. They were friends who graduated together from the University of Maine at Farmington. The shooting happened May 31 in an apartment just blocks from the campus.

Courts use status conferences to meet with attorneys and monitor cases while awaiting a grand jury session. Meanwhile, the prosecution is preparing to take the case to trial, while continuing discussions with the defense attorneys, Stokes said.

Ouimet’s attorney, Michael Cunniff, declined Friday to comment on the status of the case.

Ouimet did not appear in court Friday, and Justice Michaela Murphy conducted the conference by phone, with Cunniff participating along with Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson, who is prosecuting.

Murphy cleared the courtroom during the phone conference, which Cunniff said lasted 15 minutes. The next conference will be Sept. 2, he said.

Ouimet remains free on $10,000 cash bail. On June 15, Murphy granted a request to let Ouimet return home, ordering that he stay with his parents and have New Jersey police supervise his bail conditions.

According to an affidavit, Ouimet told investigators that he was holding the gun and dancing to music just before the shooting. He changed the song, turned and the gun went off and Holland was struck in the chest.

Holland died from the gunshot wound after being taken by ambulance to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. Ouimet faces a maximum 30-year prison sentence for the manslaughter charge.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer David Robinson can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

[email protected]