Jury selection got underway on Monday in the murder trial of a 23-year-old Auburn man charged in the 2019 fatal shooting of a Turner man at a Walmart parking lot, the Associated Press reports. The trial is being held in Augusta.

Kennebec County Superior Court Justice William Stokes ordered the trial moved from Androscoggin County Superior Court for administrative purposes.

Gage Dalphonse Androscoggin County Jail photo

Defense lawyers for Gage Dalphonse, of 47 Crest Ave., had filed a motion to move the trial out of the county due to prejudicial “widespread adverse publicity in the media and elsewhere in the community.”

Dalphonse remained in jail awaiting trial after Stokes twice denied him bail. He had been held at Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, but was moved last week to Kennebec County Correctional Facility in Augusta as his trial gets underway.

The trial is expected to continue into next week, according to court clerks.

Jean Fournier, 41, of Turner, was struck by two bullets on June 27, 2019, that killed him outside Walmart on Mt. Auburn Avenue in Auburn.

Investigators said the two men had seen each other in the parking lot and had a brief verbal exchange.

Their argument apparently was sparked by an exchange of insults between Dalphonse and Fournier’s girlfriend in the parking lot.

Afterward, Fournier walked over to where Dalphonse had parked his car to confront him, according to police.

Some witnesses said Fournier slapped or punched Dalphonse in the mouth before the shooting.

Police said Dalphonse, who had a loaded Glock 9mm handgun in a holster at the front of his pants, leveraged his torso out of the driver’s side window of his car and, twisting to the left, shot Fournier twice in the back as he was walking toward the rear of Dalphonse’s car.

Lawyers for Dalphonse are expected to present evidence showing their client acted in self-defense.

A murder conviction is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.

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