SKOWHEGAN – The deputy who arrived first at the scene of a home invasion in Pittston two years ago thought the young girl in the bed upstairs was dead.

“Her head was split open like an egg,” Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy David Bucknam testified Friday, the second day of the trial of Daniel Fortune. “I had my hand on her shoulder and she didn’t move, at that point.”

Bucknam said he believed the girl — Nicole Guerrette, then 10 — had been shot with a 12-gauge shotgun. He had responded to a report of “a home invasion with shots fired.”

Fortune, 22, of Augusta, is charged with aggravated attempted murder in the attack on Nicole and her father, William Guerrette Jr., and a number of other charges.

The Guerrettes each suffered permanent injuries inflicted, investigators say, by an intruder wielding a machete on May 27, 2008.

Bucknam testified that when he arrived, he heard a man, later identified as William Guerrette, calling for help. He said he went into the house, accompanied by a Gardiner police officer and a state trooper, and found Guerrette lying in a hallway.

Christopher McLaughlin, who was a Gardiner firefighter paramedic, testified that he heard Guerrette say his assailant was not Daniel Fortune — whom Guerrette knew — but an unknown black man described as tall and thin. The indictment describes Fortune as a 5-foot-10, 165-pound black man.

A co-defendant in the case — Fortune’s foster brother, Leo R. Hylton, 20, also of Augusta — has pleaded guilty to charges related to the predawn attack and is serving a sentence of 50 years. He is described in jail records as a 6-foot-6, 215-pound black man.

On Friday afternoon, jurors got their first look at the machete that investigators say was used in the attack. Maine State Police Detective Christopher Tremblay held up a black-handled weapon with a thick metal blade that showed signs of discoloration.

The machete was found when a homeowner along Nelson Road in Pittston stopped a deputy two days after the home invasion, saying some items in a field might be connected to the attack, Tremblay testified.

Fortune is also accused of a theft from the Guerrettes’ home about six months before the home invasion. His attorney, Pamela Ames, told jurors in her opening statement that Fortune stole a safe, but Hylton is responsible for the home invasion and all of the injuries to the Guerrettes.

Testimony in Somerset County Superior Court is to resume Monday afternoon.


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