A judge threatened Wednesday to send a contractor to jail for bail violations while he awaits trial on manslaughter charges.

Shawn Purvis, who owns a home improvement business in Scarborough, is charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of workplace manslaughter in a worker’s death. Alan Loignon, 30, fell while working on a third-story roof on a Munjoy Hill home in December 2018 and died at Maine Medical Center. He was not wearing a safety harness.

Purvis, 45, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge did not require him to post cash bail, but set conditions for his release. The parties appeared at the Cumberland County Courthouse on Wednesday for a hearing about alleged bail violations, including a new misdemeanor charge in an incident involving Loignon’s girlfriend.

Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren decided Wednesday to add conditions and require Purvis to pay $250 cash bail. And he told Purvis that he would not tolerate another violation.

“You could definitely find yourself in custody until trial,” Warren said. “So you need to be very, very careful.”

The case is scheduled for trial this spring.

The judge originally ordered Purvis to file a weekly report to the Maine Attorney General’s Office with information about his upcoming job sites, including the names of any workers who would be on them.

Defense attorney Tom Hallett challenged that requirement as unconstitutional, while Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin argued Purvis was not taking the reports seriously. For example, he filed a handwritten report in July with the message “Have no work scheduled” and an offensive phrase.

Justice Thomas Warren presides at Wednesday’s bail hearing for Shawn Purvis at the Cumberland County Courthouse. Warren told Purvis, “You could definitely find yourself in custody until trial.”  Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

After a hearing in August, court documents show the judge removed the requirement to report the names of individual workers, but kept the requirement for weekly updates.

Robbin filed a motion in January to revoke bail based on an alleged violation of the bail conditions. She said Purvis filed a report for the week of Dec. 23 that indicated he did not have any jobs. But Purvis did work that Monday in Biddeford, and Kristina Huff drove past the site and took photographs. Huff was engaged to Loignon, and the couple had two daughters. Loignon was Purvis’ half-brother.

“Purvis responded by throwing nails on the road in front of her car as if he were throwing a bowling ball,” Robbin wrote in her motion.

Biddeford police later issued Purvis a summons charging him with attempted criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.

“I have a failure of imagination in terms of trying to figure out what conditions would get him to comply at this point,” Robbin said Wednesday. “So my first proposal is to have him held without bail, which is an unusual request, your, Honor, I know. If we can’t monitor what he’s doing, we can’t ensure compliance with safety standards for his workers.”

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin makes her case at Wednesday’s bail hearing for Shawn Purvis. Robbin filed a motion in January to revoke Purvis’ bail based on an alleged violation of the bail conditions.  Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Hallett said the missed report was an error because Purvis had not finished a job on schedule and did not anticipate that extra day of work. He also said the Biddeford incident did not rise to the level of probable cause for a criminal charge. He cited the wrongful death lawsuit that Loignon’s family has filed against Purvis, and he said Huff has harassed Purvis and his adult son at job sites and other locations.

“He had no intention to do harm,” Hallett said. “Was it a brushback pitch? I think you might call it that.”

Warren watched a short video of Purvis throwing the nails and a longer one from the body camera of the police officer who delivered the summons. Then he added a new requirement to the weekly reports – the full name and phone number of the site owner – and told Purvis he needed to take those reports more seriously.

He also barred Purvis from having any contact with Huff.

“I’m not trying to get in the middle of that, but I do think you have to govern yourself with as much dignity and responsibility as you can,” Warren said.

The case is likely only the second time prosecutors in Maine have sought charges under the workplace manslaughter statute, which is a subsection of manslaughter and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The previous incident happened in 1991 in York County.

If Purvis is convicted on the manslaughter charge, a Class A felony, he faces as many as 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

He could also face more than $2 million in fines from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to protect workers from falls.

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