SKOWHEGAN – Daniel L. Fortune will begin his defense today in Somerset County Superior Court.

Fortune, 22, of Augusta, is charged with aggravated attempted murder in the home-invasion attack on William Guerrette Jr. and his daughter, Nicole, who was 10 when the attack occurred in the predawn hours of May 27, 2008.

For the past five days, jurors have heard testimony and seen evidence presented by the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley. While defense attorney Pamela Ames has cross-examined those witnesses, her opportunity to call witnesses begins today.

Ames said Wednesday that she and Fortune had yet to decide whether he will testify. He has sat quietly at the defense table throughout the trial, writing some notes and occasionally talking to Ames or to his assistant defense attorney, Robert Ringer.

Wednesday’s testimony included an array of police statements and forensic evidence offered by prosecutors.

State police Sgt. Adam Kelley testified that he interviewed Fortune on the day of the attack.

Fortune and Leo R. Hylton, 20, were former foster brothers sharing an apartment in Augusta when the home invasion occurred. Investigators were at their door a couple of hours after the home invasion, Kelley said, because Fortune had been indicted in a previous theft at the Guerrettes’ house.

Kelley testified that Fortune told him it was “a damned stupid plan” for anyone to try to break into the Guerrettes’ home armed with only a machete, because William Guerrette would likely have a gun after being robbed in 2007.

Then he said Fortune laughed and said, “Someone would make that mistake only once.”

Kelley testified that Fortune said he had been waiting a long time to be tried on the theft charge, and that he wanted the chance to clear his name.

“He said Mr. Guerrette said he would be a character witness for him, and that he was his best asset,” Kelley testified.

Jurors also learned Wednesday about how the evidence collected in the investigation was processed and analyzed at the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory in Augusta.

Cathy McMillan, a DNA analyst at the lab, testified that she identified William Guerrette’s blood on the machete that investigators found in a field off Nelson Road in Pittston two days after the home invasion.

She identified Guerrette’s blood on the tread of sneakers found at the same place, and on a pair of black sweatpants that had DNA matched to a former girlfriend of Fortune.

Kimberly Stevens, a senior laboratory scientist, testified that a blade had left a tool mark in a motion sensor at the Guerrettes’ home. She said she matched that mark to a folding knife that appeared to have a blade about 1 foot long and 3 inches wide.

Hylton testified earlier that the knife was one of several in a collection he inherited from his late father.

Alicia Wilcox, a forensic scientist at the crime laboratory, testified that she matched two bloody shoe prints at the Guerrettes’ home to the sneakers investigators found off Nelson Road. The machete and other clothing were found nearby.

Fortune is charged with more than a dozen crimes related to the home invasion and the theft on Nov. 19, 2007, of a safe containing more than $100,000 worth of cash and valuables from the home.

Hylton already has pleaded guilty to crimes related to the home invasion, and was sentenced Feb. 26 to spend 50 years in prison and 15 years on probation.

William Guerrette is expected to testify this morning. The trial is to resume at 9 a.m. Justice Michaela Murphy said testimony could conclude today.


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