SKOWHEGAN — The man being tried this week in a machete attack on a Pittston man and his daughter testified Thursday that he did not hurt anyone.

Daniel L. Fortune, 22, of Augusta put all the blame on Leo R. Hylton, 20, for the home invasion on May 27, 2008, in which William G. Guerrette Jr. and his daughter, Nicole, then 10, suffered permanent injuries.

“There’s no way I was taking the blame, because I didn’t touch anybody,” Fortune said on the witness stand in Somerset County Superior Court.

Hylton has pleaded guilty to crimes related to the predawn attack, and was sentenced Feb. 26 to serve 50 years in prison and 15 years probation.

Fortune spent more than 90 minutes Thursday giving his version of events under questioning by his attorney, Pamela Ames. He spent the rest of the afternoon responding to questions from District Attorney Alan Kelley.

Closing arguments are scheduled for today.

Fortune admitted Thursday to other crimes, such as violating bail conditions, smoking marijuana and stealing a safe from William Guerrette.

But he said Hylton was responsible for the attack.

Fortune testified that he and Hylton went to the Guerrettes’ home early that morning to collect a drug debt from Ryan Guerrette, a former high school classmate.

“Leo told me Ryan owed him $900,” Fortune said.

Fortune said he went along for the ride in a car that Hylton had stolen from his aunt.

The plan was to see Ryan, apologize for stealing Guerrette’s father’s safe six months earlier and smoke some marijuana.

Fortune said he initially tried to get Hylton to leave when no one answered the basement door at the Guerrettes’ home, then fled to the locked car when the home’s intruder alarm sounded.

He said he returned to the house only when Hylton didn’t come out. When he went inside, he saw William Guerrette Jr. lying on a hall floor, bleeding, he testified.

“Mr. Guerrette, you could just see his legs. Leo had the machete in his hands,” Fortune said. “I motioned to Leo and he just stood there.”

Fortune testified that he didn’t know Hylton had brought his machete.

“I didn’t see it till later on that night, till I got in the house,” Fortune said.

Fortune said he hit Guerrette’s legs with the door to the basement stairs as he opened it to escape. Then he waited briefly at the exit door until Hylton followed him.

“My main concern was getting my brother out of the house,” Fortune said.

Before he got into the car, Fortune said, he and Hylton stripped down to their boxer shorts and socks so they wouldn’t leave blood in the car.

Fortune said that disposing of the clothes in a field and in a stranger’s trash can was “a panic reaction.” He also said Hylton threw away the machete.

The items were found two days later off Nelson Road in Pittston.

On the stand, Fortune admitted lying repeatedly to investigators and others.

“I didn’t want to get my little brother in trouble,” he said. “I never imagined I’d be charged with attempted murder.”

Fortune faces more than a dozen charges related to the attack and the theft. His trial began May 6.

Earlier Thursday, the prosecution wrapped up its case with William Guerrette recounting the terror in his house on the morning of the attack.

He said he spent a month in a coma and still bears scars on his left arm and head.

He held up his left hand to show where he is missing one finger from the attack, and told the court that doctors reconstructed his skull with pieces taken from his back and hip.

He testified that he was awoken by the sound of the intruder alarm — at 1:52 a.m., according to alarm company records — and went down the hall to investigate, finding “a tall black man” in or near the dining room.

Guerrette said he called out, “What are you doing? Get out!”

Then he was struck.

“I was shocked and stunned. I was hit from the side,” he said. “It was the hardest hit I’ve ever had in my life. I thought maybe it was a baseball bat.”

He said he scrambled back to the master bedroom to get the Glock 9-mm pistol he had acquired after the theft of his safe. “I never had time to practice shooting it,” he said. “I didn’t put a round in the chamber.”

Back in the hallway, he said, he touched the trigger and the laser sight showed on the intruder’s shoulder.

“This time I’m totally clear,” Guerrette said. “I saw a tall black guy.”

Guerrette told the court he thought that would scare the intruder off.

“I shouted, ‘Get out!’” Guerrette testified. “I start walking down toward him. I was hoping he’d turn and run.”

He said the figure didn’t move at all. “I was going to hit him with the gun and he got me first.”

Guerrette testified that he was slashed numerous times, and he recalled seeing Nicole — who came out of her room at the top of the stairs — being hacked about five times and her cowering in a corner.

Justice Michaela Murphy told jurors Thursday that they will hear closing arguments and her instructions today before they begin deliberations.


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