AUGUSTA – Images of Justin V. Smith’s life flashed on a screen Wednesday as the man who killed him was brought into Kennebec County Superior Court.

Smith, of South China, was 26 when he was shot in the face outside a pub in Waterville in December by Matthew Partridge, 30, of Winslow.

Partridge pleaded guilty to manslaughter Wednesday and will serve at least 15 years in prison.

Dozens of images appeared on the projection screen as Smith’s mother, Brenda Smith, told the judge of the trauma caused by her son’s death.

The pictures were of a smiling Smith with his family, posing outside near snowmobiles, playing in a pool, wearing a red devil costume for Halloween and interacting with his son, Tucker.

Brenda Smith and others who spoke in court repeatedly referred to Partridge as a coward. Partridge shot at Smith twice after Smith punched him in the face while Partridge sat in his pickup truck.

“We believe Justin was intentionally murdered. That coward, he had so many choices. Why didn’t he just leave?” she asked, adding, “He knew he had that gun in his car and he knew what he was going to do with it.”

Partridge was charged initially with murder, but he accepted a deal to plead guilty to manslaughter.

Under a recommendation supported by state and defense attorneys and approved by the judge, Partridge was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with 10 years suspended, and four years’ probation. The maximum sentence for manslaughter is 30 years in prison.

Justice Michaela Murphy was scheduled to preside over Partridge’s jury-waived trial, which was to begin Monday.


Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]


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