January 25, 2013

Winslow man facing murder charge

A Kennebec County grand jury has indicted Matthew Partridge in the shooting death of Justin Smith.

Kennebec Journal staff reports

AUGUSTA – A Winslow man was indicted Friday on a murder charge in last month's shooting death outside a pub in Waterville.

click image to enlarge

Matthew Partridge, of Winslow, is led into District Court in Waterville in December for an initial appearance in the shooting death of Justin Smith.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Matthew Partridge, 30, is charged with shooting Justin V. Smith, 26, of South China on Dec. 4 outside You Know Who's Pub.

Partridge is being held on $700,000 cash bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 12. The indictment was handed up Friday by a grand jury in Kennebec County Superior Court.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial in Superior Court.

Partridge is accused of shooting Smith in the face with a Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun around 11 p.m. after a brief altercation between two groups of men.

"The evidence is quite clear," Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said during Partridge's initial court appearance last month. "After an initial altercation he was clearly not involved in ... he armed himself and returned to the scene. The state admits he evidently was struck by the victim. He took his gun and shot the victim."

Partridge's attorney, Pamela Ames, said he was trying to drive away from the scene and that Smith blocked the way and punched Partridge so hard he thought he had a broken nose.

"Smith is the original aggressor, the one who approached the truck, walks up and punches him full force in the face," Ames said. She said Partridge thought he had suffered serious bodily injury and didn't know what was happening -- as though it were a robbery or a car-jacking, she said.

Ames said Partridge, who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, had a gun in his truck and used it to defend himself.

"He had a reasonable belief he had to use deadly force," she said. "My client was in fear for his life. That is an affirmative defense for murder."

Partridge was arrested 20 minutes after the shooting was reported.


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