SKOWHEGAN – A jury today heard a prosecutor lay out his theory about why an Augusta man participated in a machete attack that left a father and young daughter seriously injured almost two years ago.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley said Daniel L. Fortune, 22, needed money for bail and he needed Pittston resident William Guerrette to drop earlier theft charges about him.

Fortune was indicted on 14 criminal charges related to the pre-dawn home invasion in Pittston on May 27, 2008, and a theft of more than $100,000 worth of property from the same residence that occurred six months earlier.

Fortune is on trial in Somerset County Superior Court, accused of four counts of aggravated attempted murder, two counts each of elevated aggravated assault and violation of conditions of release, and one count each of attempted murder, robbery, burglary, conspiracy to commit robbery, theft, and failure to appear in court.

The charges are connected to a predawn machete attack at the Pittston home of the Guerrette family and a Nov. 17, 2007, theft from the same residence.

The machete attack left businessman and former legislator William Guerrette Jr., now 50, and his daughter, Nicole, now 12, hospitalized for weeks with severe injuries. Eight family members watched the opening statements. However, the Guerrettes named as victims in the indictment are expected to testify and were not in the courtroom.

Justice Michaela Murphy told the 16 jurors — at the request of defense attorney Pamela Ames — that Fortune is in custody. Ames said that fact would be obvious when they heard testimony from some of the witnesses.

Fortune took notes as Kelley laid out the procession of events.

In her opening statement to the jury, Ames said her client stole a safe from the home six months earlier, but she blamed all the criminal actions in the home invasion on Leo Hylton, now 20, Fortune’s foster brother and roommate in Augusta.

She said Hylton committed the crimes and admitted it in a letter to the Guerrette family in which he said, “My weakness, my need to help those I love, my unwavering loyalty has caused all this senseless pain.”

Hylton pleaded guilty to charges related to the home invasion and was sentenced Feb. 26 to 90 years in prison, with all but 50 years suspended and 15 years’ probation. He is listed as a witness and is expected to testify at Fortune’s trial.

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