PORTLAND — A New York man will remain behind bars until he’s tried for allegedly murdering a Westbrook woman last year and stuffing her body in the back seat of a sport utility vehicle.
Superior Court Justice Roland Cole ruled Monday that there is enough evidence that Anthony Pratt, 20, killed Marguerita Fisenko Scott, 29, to justify holding him in jail until trial, currently scheduled for September 2014.
“This is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Cole said, but it’s probable cause to support a murder charge against Pratt and hold him without bail.
“He had the opportunity. He had a motive,” Cole said in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court, referring to a domestic violence incident Pratt was accused of by Scott the day before her death last fall.
Pratt allegedly was angry that Scott wanted to reconcile with her husband. Two months after she was slain, her husband found her body stuffed in a car at a Portland motel parking lot.
The key piece of evidence against Pratt, Cole said, is a wad of chewing gum that was used to plug a hole in the wall made by the bullet that killed Scott. The gum has Pratt’s DNA on it.
Cole also said Pratt had plenty of time from 1-3 a.m. on Nov. 11 to shoot Scott at 266 West Concord St., drive her body to the Motel 6 parking lot on Riverside Street, walk back to the house and clean up the blood.
Speaking on behalf of Scott’s parents, Margarita Hillard, a cousin, said after the decision, “They’re just happy and relieved and really grateful for all the hard work the detectives put in.”
Assistant Maine Attorneys General Lisa Marchese and Donald Macomber also praised the work of Portland police detectives, who found the bullet embedded in a wall stud of the renovated apartment and recovered the paneling that had been torn down and was due to be discarded.
They then reassembled it like a jigsaw puzzle on the wall, which enabled them to locate the wad of gum and paper used to cover the bullet hole, the attorneys general said.
Cole’s decision also came after testimony by Christopher Jennings, currently charged with drug trafficking, who said Pratt helped him deal crack cocaine.
Jennings said he initially didn’t want to implicate Pratt, but now believes he killed Scott.