She had narrowly escaped death.

Holding the baseball cap she had been wearing on the morning of April 26, 2022, Annabelle Hartnett showed jurors on Wednesday where the bullet had pierced the brim.

Hartnett, 29, was the first witness to testify in the trial of Damion Butterfield, who is charged with attempted murder and murder in the death of Derald “Darry” Coffin. Butterfield is one of four men charged in the case last summer.

Coffin and Hartnett were shot a little after 1 a.m. Three men had approached their car, demanded money and beat Coffin. After the shootings, they fled the scene. Butterfield, not yet a suspect, turned himself in to Saco police later that day on an older, unrelated probation charge. He was indicted on the murder charge in July 2022.

Butterfield, 24, sat only feet from the witness stand where Hartnett testified. She has never identified Butterfield as the man who shot her – a point his attorney argued supports Butterfield’s innocence. His attorney had mounted an insanity defense, entering not guilty and not criminally responsible pleas this summer, but said they agreed to withdraw the insanity plea last week

Damion Butterfield looks around the courtroom in Cumberland County Superior Court on Wednesday. Butterfield is pleading not guilty and not criminally responsible to a murder charge in the shooting death of Derald Coffin in 2022. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

In what Butterfield’s attorney called a “sweetheart deal of epic proportions,” former co-defendant Thomas MacDonald, 45, is expected to testify during the trial and identify Butterfield as the gunman. MacDonald originally was charged with felony murder in Coffin’s death but agreed to plead to a lesser charge of hindering apprehension in April.


Butterfield’s attorney, James Howaniec, said the state’s witnesses are weak.

Dressed in an untucked white, button-down shirt and tie, Butterfield was brought into the courtroom by two sheriff’s deputies, themselves wearing suits and ties instead of their usual uniforms. Butterfield, who made several outbursts during a pretrial hearing last week, made no remarks Wednesday.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin said the state plans to show surveillance footage of Butterfield and other co-defendants going to and from the site of the shooting. Prosecutors said they also will play calls Butterfield made in jail and reference conversations in which he not only confessed to the shooting – but also seemed to brag about it.

“Damion Butterfield was willing to use that gun against an unarmed man and a woman and he would have no regrets,” Robbin said in opening statements.

Howaniec is focused on casting doubt on who pulled the trigger. He pointed to Jonathan Geisinger, 46, who he said attacked Coffin along with Butterfield and MacDonald, as the gunman. He said the gun belonged to Geisinger and his DNA was all over it.

Geisinger, MacDonald and 46-year-old Anthony Osborne, who prosecutors say orchestrated the attack, conspired to blame Butterfield for the shooting days after Coffin’s slaying, Howaniec argued. He said the three men took advantage of his troubled young client, who has spent most of his life in the criminal justice system.


“Damion Butterfield is alienated,” Howaniec said in opening statements. “He’s immature, he’s prone to outbursts and impulsivity. He’s very mentally ill. But he’s not a murderer. He’s a man-child who was played by three older men twice his age.”

Damion Butterfield enters the courtroom in Cumberland County Superior Court on Wednesday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer


Hartnett left Maine shortly after the shooting.

She spent much of Wednesday on the stand and struggled against tears to answer some of Howaniec’s questions about the shooting and her past drug use – she paused to catch her breath several times.

She had been trying to recover from substance use disorder at the time of the shooting, but was still using heroin to avoid getting sick from withdrawal. She said she has since completed a recovery program as part of a plea agreement to other, unrelated charges.

She had known Coffin for two years and was dating his cousin. Coffin had worked as a mechanic and helped her fix up her Range Rover. The two had spent much of April 25 together, driving around the city trying to find heroin. They picked up Osborne later that evening. He was Coffin’s friend. She had only met him once before.


Annabelle Hartnett stands on Woodford Street in Portland in 2022, near where she was shot and her friend Darry Coffin was killed on April 26, 2022. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Osborne asked them if they had any drugs, she testified. They said no. Then he asked where they were driving and Coffin gave him the Woodford Street address where they were staying.

Hartnett said she later heard Osborne share that address with someone he was talking to on the phone in the backseat. He also mentioned it in a text that he sent her while she was driving, which she testified was probably meant for someone else.

Police say he was tipping off MacDonald, Geisinger and Butterfield. He was setting them up to be robbed, investigators said.

Hartnett had left Coffin and Osborne in the car for a few minutes to run inside the house. Then she heard a commotion outside. She ran out and saw three men outside her car shouting at Coffin and demanding money. They pulled him out of the car and started beating him, she said.

Hartnett tried to offer them cash, she said, but they kept attacking Coffin.

“No one noticed me,” Hartnett said.


Then one of them – a tall young man in a black and red sweater – shot Coffin.

As the other two men fled, the shooter told Hartnett to get on her knees and aimed for her head. That’s when the bullet pierced her hat and scarf.

Hartnett choked back tears Wednesday as she told jurors how she slumped over and played dead. The shooter began to run, but not before turning around and firing at her again, hitting her arm.

She was arrested a couple of weeks after the shooting on unrelated misdemeanor charges – notably the same day the Press Herald published an interview with her in which Hartnett said police treated her more like a suspect than a victim while she was still recovering at the hospital. Howaniec referenced the article a couple of times Wednesday.

She eventually met and spoke with investigators on June 6, 2022, and negotiated a plea deal.

In opening statements, Howaniec suggested Hartnett’s past substance use makes her testimony unreliable. He said it’s possible she helped Osborne plan the robbery.


But Hartnett was firm: She didn’t plan this and she didn’t see the shooter’s face.

Defense attorney James Howaniec holds a photograph of a gun in evidence during his opening statements in the Butterfield trial at Cumberland County Superior Court on Wednesday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“Did you see tattoos on his face?” Howaniec asked at one point, referencing his client’s face tattoos.

“I didn’t see anybody’s face,” Hartnett said. “I could only make out physical bodies.”

Hartnett was dismissed Wednesday, but attorneys said they might call her back again.

Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy has set aside two weeks for Butterfield’s trial.

His verdict will likely have an impact on Osborne’s trial, which is scheduled for Jan. 8, and Geisinger, who doesn’t have a court date yet.

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