SKOWHEGAN – A jury convicted Daniel L. Fortune on Friday of all 11 charges against him in a home invasion in Pittston that left a father and daughter gravely injured.

Fortune, 22, of Augusta, was found guilty of four counts of aggravated attempted murder — two involving premeditation and two involving extreme cruelty — in the predawn machete attack on William Guerrette Jr., then 48, and Nicole Guerrette, then 10.

Each of the four counts of aggravated attempted murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“This case calls for the most severe of penalties,” District Attorney Evert Fowle said late Friday.

Fortune’s trial in Somerset County Superior Court lasted seven days. The jury deliberated for about 4½ hours before returning the verdicts.

The two victims and members of their family watched from the benches in the back of the courtroom as the verdicts were returned. They hugged and cried quietly as the foreman answered “guilty” to each of the 11 questions posed by the clerk.


“We can live the rest of our lives without fear,” William Guerrette said as he and his family gathered outside the courthouse. “Justice was done.”

Nicole Guerrette smiled for the cameras and said, “I had a helmet; now I have a head of hair.” She suffered severe head injuries when she was hacked by the machete on May 27, 2008, and had to wear a protective helmet for months.

Fortune had pleaded guilty May 4 to stealing a safe containing more than $100,000 worth of property, including $30,000 in cash, from the Guerrettes’ house on Nov. 17, 2007. He also pleaded guilty to failing to appear for a jury trial on that charge, and to violating a condition of release.

Fortune admitted to the safe theft while on the witness stand Thursday. He also admitted being at the Guerrettes’ home on the morning of the attack.

But he denied having any role in the attack, blaming the home-invasion crimes and the machete attack on his former roommate and foster brother, Leo R. Hylton, now 20.

Hylton pleaded guilty to attempted murder and other charges related to the home invasion, and was sentenced Feb. 26 to serve 50 years in prison and 15 years on probation.


Justice Michaela Murphy’s instructions to the jurors Friday included an explanation of accomplice liability. She told them that a person can be guilty of a crime “if he personally does the acts that constitute the crime, or if he is an accomplice of another person who actually commits the crime.”

Murphy’s instructions said “mere presence” does not prove that a person is an accomplice. “He may be guilty of the crime as an accomplice if he engages in any conduct, however slight, that promotes or facilitates the commission of the crime,” she told the jury.

The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley, said in his closing argument that the aggravated attempted murders and the subsequent search through the house for three other members of the Guerrette family were results of “Daniel Fortune’s greed and his unwillingness to return to jail.”

Pamela Ames, the defense attorney, said in her closing argument that the crimes were all committed by Hylton. She said Hylton stole his aunt’s car and drove from Augusta to the Guerrettes’ home early that morning to collect a drug debt from Ryan Guerrette, a former classmate and teammate of Fortune.

“(Fortune) didn’t drive it,” she said. “He didn’t have the machete, the folding knife; he didn’t have the duct tape.”

She told jurors to find Fortune guilty of one crime — violating conditions of release — for being at the Guerrettes’ home on May 27, 2008, but she asked them to clear him of the five attempted-murder charges, as well as two counts of elevated aggravated assault and one count each of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and burglary.


“Daniel Fortune’s mistake in this is not realizing how far Leo would go,” Ames said. “His mistake is not understanding, in time, the violence Leo Hylton was capable of.”

Jurors returned to the courtroom twice during their deliberations. They sought clarification of accomplice liability as it relates to premeditation. They asked whether blood had been found on a folding knife.

And they asked whether they had to find that the defendant attempted to murder Melanie, Ashley and Ryan Guerrette, or whether the defendant was guilty of the single attempted murder charge if he tried to murder just one of them.

The judge told them that if the state proved he attempted to murder one of them, that would be sufficient for a guilty verdict.

Fortune wants to be sentenced as soon as possible, Ames told the judge. Murphy tentatively scheduled a sentencing hearing for 1 p.m. June 2 and said it would likely be held in Augusta, depending on the availability of a courtroom.


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