November 14, 2013

Yarmouth murder suspect, 70, to make first court appearance

'Mike' Kimball is accused of shooting Leon Kelley, 63, last month outside a North Yarmouth beekeeper business.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The 70-year-old Yarmouth man accused of murdering a Georgetown man last month is to make his initial court appearance in Portland Thursday morning.

click image to enlarge

Honey Comb Drive in North Yarmouth leads to the scene where a fatal shooting took place last month outside Brown’s Bee Farm.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Merrill “Mike” Kimball was indicted by a Cumberland County grand jury on a murder charge last week. He is accused of fatally shooting Leon Kelley, 63, multiple times in the torso with a .38 caliber pistol outside a North Yarmouth beekeeper business on Oct.6.

Kimball is scheduled to appear in court at 8:30 a.m.

Kelley’s brothers, William and Joseph Kelley, said Wednesday that they feel authorities dishonor their brother’s memory with the favorable treatment extended to Kimball.

“They’re handling him with kid gloves,” said William Kelley. He believes that most people would have been arrested the night of the shooting, or at least after being indicted by the grand jury.

Instead Kimball was issued a summons to appear in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court.

“They’ve already decided they’re going to give him bail,” William Kelley said.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes has said that Kimball is not a flight risk and has been cooperative throughout the process. He anticipated that at Thursday’s arraignment, a judge would set bail for Kimball along with bail conditions

Leon Kelley was allegedly trying to keep Kimball away from Brown’s Bee Farm, owned by Kelley’s father-in-law, Stan Brown, whom Kelley had been visiting that day. Kimball’s wife, Karen Thurlow-Kimball, had worked with Brown for years at the beekeeping supply company and honey operation and was there to retrieve some honey, according to Kimball’s lawyer.

Members of Kelley’s family say Kimball wasn’t supposed to be on the property and was told to leave. At some point, Kelley allegedly pushed Kimball and Kimball pulled a gun and shot him.

Kimball’s lawyer, Daniel Lilley, has said his client acted in self-defense.

Joseph Kelley said that Kimball could have walked away at any time and Leon Kelley would still be alive.

Any trial is likely to be held late next year.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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