A Whitefield man accused of fatally shooting a Chelsea man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea agreement with the state, prosecutors say.

Derrick Dupont had been charged with murder in the slaying of James L. Haskell in 2017. That charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement, Assistant Attorney General John Alsop said. Dupont will be sentenced by a judge on May 6.

Alsop declined to comment on why the state agreed to dismiss the murder charge, saying only that it would be “dismissed when we’re done with this.”

Haskell, 41, of Chelsea, died of gunshot wounds to the head, neck and abdomen, according to the state Medical Examiner’s Office.

Dupont, 28, shot Haskell to death early on June 17, 2017, in the front yard of what then was Dupont’s West Gardiner home, police said.

He was arrested on murder and manslaughter charges after he was indicted on Aug. 24, 2017, though he was released after posting $80,000 worth of real estate as bail. He initially pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Dupont was scheduled to go to trial next week, with jury selection scheduled to start Monday.

On June 17, 2017, Kennebec County sheriff’s deputies went to 9 Yeaton Drive in West Gardiner in response to a 911 call about 2:50 a.m., with the sheriff’s log indicating a caller “reports he shot someone.”

A court filing from the defense, seeking to amend bail, said that Dupont was “charged with this offense following an altercation at Mr. Dupont’s residence where the alleged victim was trespassing and allegedly threatening to kill the occupants of the home.”

A number of people had been at the home before the shooting, and they were interviewed as part of the police investigation. Maine State Police said in June 2017 that they had interviewed the shooting suspect, but they did not identify the person until Dupont was arrested that August.

Haskell was dead when police arrived, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Public records show Haskell had a lengthy criminal history and served extensive time in prison.

Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at:

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