Daniel L. Fortune, sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for a 2008 machete attack in Pittston that nearly killed a 10-year-old girl and maimed her father, wants another chance at an appeal in his case.

Fortune, now 29, is asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court for clarification of an April 19, 2016, order from a superior court judge about ineffective assistance of counsel in an earlier appeal.

The written brief, filed by attorney Rory A. McNamara, said that order “is so unclear as to necessitate remand. … Any appeal on the merits of the court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction review must wait until the post-conviction court issues a new order clearly and properly applying the applicable legal standards for evaluating claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.”

Oral arguments in Fortune’s latest appeal are set for Monday at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland.

Fortune, formerly of Augusta and Gardiner, and his foster brother Leo R. Hylton, both were convicted of invading the home of William Guerrette, a former state legislator, and his family and attacking them, leaving the father and the daughter fighting for their lives and prompting the mother to scramble out a bathroom window, leap 20 feet to the ground and flee barefoot through the woods to a neighbor’s for help.

Fortune, who had been a star athlete at Gardiner Area High School, had been a friend of the Guerrette family and occasionally spent the night at their home.


According to the state, Fortune previously had stolen a safe from the home that contained more than $180,000 in cash.

Hylton pleaded guilty to a number of charges related to the May 27, 2008, attack on the family and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Fortune was convicted in May 2010 by a jury in Somerset County and received concurrent life sentences on three aggravated attempted murder convictions and shorter prison terms on a series of burglary, robbery and conspiracy charges.

In December 2011, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued a unanimous ruling upholding Fortune’s conviction and the concurrent life sentences.

In that appeal, Fortune maintained the life sentences were excessive and disproportionate to the crimes.

It is believed that his case was the first time the state’s harshest penalty – life in prison – was imposed for a crime that its victims survived. Judges must abide by strict guidelines set by the state supreme court to impose a life sentence.


Maeghan Maloney, district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties, maintains the post-conviction review and the appellate processes were done properly.

She asked that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court dismiss the petition.

She noted that Hylton testified at Fortune’s trial; however, Hylton said he did not remember a number of things from the night of the attack.

Hylton is at the Maine State Prison. His earliest release date is listed as May 26, 2052, on the state Department of Corrections website.

In allowing Fortune’s post-conviction appeal to proceed, Justice Donald Marden wrote in December 2015 that an attorney representing him in an earlier appeal was ineffective.

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


Twitter: betadams

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: