AUGUSTA – Maine’s chief medical examiner testified behind closed doors to attorneys Thursday in the case of a Winslow man who is charged with murder.

Margaret Greenwald was deposed by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson, the state’s prosecutor, and Pamela Ames, an attorney for Matthew Partridge, 30.

Partridge is charged with shooting Justin V. Smith, 26, of South China in December outside You Know Who’s Pub in Waterville.

Partridge’s trial is due to begin Aug. 12 and run through Aug. 16, said Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy. Jury selection will begin Aug. 9 if Partridge doesn’t waive his right to a jury trial. He has until Aug. 1 to do that and hasn’t decided what he will do, Ames said.

On Thursday, a Kennebec Journal reporter was the only one who was asked to leave the courtroom before Greenwald’s deposition. Family members of Smith and Partridge were allowed to remain in the courtroom by agreement of the attorneys.

Depositions are forums for witnesses to give out-of-court testimony used in the discovery process, initiated and supervised by the defense and prosecuting attorneys, and a court reporter is typically present.

“There is concern that any pre-trial publicity could affect the ability to pick a fair and impartial jury,” Benson said.

For scheduling reasons, Murphy said Greenwald will likely not be able to appear at the trial, so parties were gathering her testimony ahead of time.

According to an affidavit, Greenwald told Maine State Police Detective Sgt. Jason Richards in December that Smith died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Partridge is accused of shooting Smith in the face with a Sig Sauer handgun around 11 p.m. on Dec. 4 after a brief altercation between two groups of men.

He has pleaded not guilty and said he shot Smith in self-defense.

By all accounts of the incident from eyewitnesses, including Partridge, it began with an initial altercation outside the pub on The Concourse in Waterville. Partridge and a friend left and returned in Partridge’s truck.

Ames has said Partridge was trying to drive away from the scene and Smith blocked the way while Partridge was in his truck. Smith punched him so hard he thought he had a broken nose and only then did he shoot Smith, she has said.

Partridge fled, getting pulled over about 20 minutes later by a state trooper in Smithfield to whom Partridge confessed shooting Smith in self-defense, records show.

In December, Partridge’s mother, Diana Michaud of Winslow, told the Morning Sentinel that Partridge obtained a concealed-handgun permit a few months before the killing, as the family often goes camping and keeps guns for use in case of bears.

 

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

mshepherd@mainetoday.com