July 23, 2013

Opening statements begin Tuesday in Portland attack trial

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Jury selection was completed Monday and opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday in the trial of Eric Gwaro, a Scarborough man accused of attempted murder for an attack last August that left a 25-year-old woman in Portland with brain damage.

Gwaro, 28, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder charge and three other counts – elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault and violation of conditions of release.

His trial in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court is expected to take about a week to complete.

The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Megan Elam, has listed 31 potential witnesses, including 15 police officers and the victim herself, Sherri York of Portland.

York, identified in court papers as a prostitute and drug user, was left in a coma long after the Aug. 30 attack near Montgomery Street. Though she has recovered partially, she is not expected to fully recover, authorities have said previously.

Gwaro was captured on surveillance video at the Big Apple on Washington Street in Portland around 3 a.m. on the night of the attack violently dragging the woman. Witnesses in the area of Cumberland Avenue and Motgomery Street also reported seeing a man matching Gwaro’s description punching York and repeatedly stomping on her head, according to police reports.

Gwaro was arrested shortly afterward and told police that he wasn’t the attacker and that he had been chasing the attacker when officers stopped him, police said.

Gwaro’s attorneys, Daniel Lilley and Tina Nadeau, have six people on their potential witness list, including Gwaro himself.

Justice Joyce Wheeler is presiding over the trial.

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@mainetoday.com

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