ALFRED — York County prosecutors won’t say why they haven’t charged a Saco man with manslaughter after he was accused in a hit-and-run incident in June that left an elderly pedestrian hospitalized until her death in July.

Leo Paul Bedard III, 45, appeared in York County Superior Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to six lesser charges related to the June 21 hit-and-run that critically injured 87-year-old Jewell Friedman of Saco.

Friedman was walking her dog on Ferry Road in Saco on the morning she was struck. She was taken first to Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and then transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she died on July 12.

When the York County District Attorney’s Office presented its case before the grand jury this month, a manslaughter charge wasn’t given as an option for jurors.

“The state did not seek a manslaughter charge at this time,” Assistant District Attorney Thomas Miscio said after Bedard’s court appearance on Tuesday.

Miscio said he “cannot say” why the District Attorney’s Office reached that decision, but he did not rule out the possibility that prosecutors may seek a manslaughter indictment in the future.


Saco Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Holland said that though Friedman’s death was tragic and high-profile, officers from his department presented the facts to the District Attorney’s Office as they always do and let prosecutors decide which charges to pursue.

“It’s a very normal procedure,” Holland said.

The York County grand jury returned indictments against Bedard on two felony charges – leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death and witness tampering – and four misdemeanor charges of failure to report an accident, driving with a suspended license and two counts of violation of bail conditions from a prior case.

Bedard, who has been held on $25,000 cash bail since his arrest on the same day Friedman was struck, said nothing at his court appearance Tuesday. He stood beside his attorney, Amy Fairfield, as she entered not guilty pleas on his behalf on all six charges.

An attorney for Friedman’s family estate, Robert Furbish, also appeared in court in support of a letter he filed with the District Attorney’s Office under the state’s Freedom of Access Act and Criminal History Record Information Act for details of the hit-and-run investigation.

The heading of Furbish’s letter to Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan is, “Re: Janis A. Hartley, Personal Representative of the Estate of Jewell Averill Friedman v. Leo Bedard and Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company.”


While that heading suggests an ongoing legal action, the estate has not filed a wrongful death lawsuit yet, according to another Berman and Simmons lawyer who will be handling the case.

“No lawsuits or notices of claim have yet been filed, but are anticipated. No final decisions can be made on specific actions to be brought until the probate process has been completed,” attorney Steven Silin said in a written statement. “The family has suffered a tragic loss. Our firm will be taking every step necessary to protect their rights and interests throughout this process.”

In response to Furbish’s letter, the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion with the court to allow release of investigative documents that typically remain confidential while a criminal case is pending, including witness statements, investigative reports, photos and blood alcohol or drug testing information.

The judge in Bedard’s case, Superior Court Justice John O’Neil Jr., allowed Fairfield two weeks to review documents in the case against her client to see if she objected to release of those details to Friedman’s estate.

Fairfield said afterward that she is unsure whether she will object.

Fairfield also asked the judge to reserve Bedard’s right to argue bail again at a later date.

Friedman lived in the Atlantic Heights retirement community off Ferry Road with her dog, Selina.

Friedman and her husband, Don, moved to Saco four years ago to be in the retirement community and to be closer to the beach. Her husband died in February.

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