BIDDEFORD — A jury trial began Monday in York County Superior Court for a Biddeford man who three years ago shot his landlord to death, a fact his attorneys are not disputing.

Randal Hennessey appears via Zoom at a pretrial hearing in York County Superior Court on Thursday.

Randal J. Hennessey, 33, was arrested in September 2021 after shooting his landlord, 31-year-old Douglas Michaud Jr., in front of Michaud’s girlfriend on their front porch.

Hennessey has pleaded not guilty to one count of knowing or intentional murder, and he has rejected at least two plea deals, including an offer from prosecutors that would have capped his sentence at 47 years in prison.

Yet Hennessey does not deny shooting Michaud.

“The evidence will show you that the event took place,” his attorney George Hess said in opening statements. “The question to you is why he shot Mr. Michaud.”

Hess did not offer any explanations for why Hennessey could have justifiably shot Michaud. He told the jury the defense plans to call on an “expert witness” who might explain Hennessey’s reasoning, but as soon as the jury was out of the room, Superior Court Justice Richard Mulhern said he hasn’t yet approved Hess’ request to call on that expert.


Hess only spoke to the jury for a few minutes during his opening statement after far lengthier comments from a prosecutor who suggested Hennessey was motivated by retaliation because Michaud served him with an eviction notice.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Ackerman told Mulhern before the jury entered the room that she believes the killing was premeditated and that she plans to seek life in prison if Hennessey is convicted. She said Hennessey also faces charges for having a gun when he was already barred because of prior convictions.

Douglas Michaud Jr., who was killed outside his Biddeford home in September 2021, is shown with girlfriend Jamie Wakefield, who witnessed the shooting. Photo courtesy of Terra Johnson

In her opening statements, Ackerman showed jurors pictures of the eviction notice, sent by certified mail, and pictures of the three-story building on Union Street where Michaud lived in the unit above Hennessey, who had been Michaud’s tenant since 2018.

She said Michaud was concerned about the number of vehicles Hennessey was parking outside the apartment, including old motorcycles and dirt bikes that Hennessey planned to “flip and sell.” Hennessey and his girlfriend were only allowed to have two parking spots, Ackerman said, and Hennessey didn’t seem to be taking Michaud’s warnings seriously.

Michaud was coming back from a car inspection around 3 p.m. on Sept. 14, Ackerman said. His girlfriend, Jamie Wakefield, who was was seven months pregnant at the time, was waiting for him on their porch when Hennessey came outside and fired five founds at Michaud. Hennessey briefly retreated inside before coming back and firing another two times at his landlord, who was at that point on the ground, his head in Wakefield’s arms.

Wakefield is scheduled to testify Tuesday.


Ackerman said she also will call on several neighbors who heard the gunfire and saw Hennessey flee. Two neighbors told police they saw him shout in Wakefield’s direction, “welcome to Biddeford, (expletive),” as she held Michaud.

Mulhern also reviewed videos taken by police when they arrived on scene in which Wakefield is sobbing and says “Randy shot him” multiple times. Mulhern said he will allow the jury to watch the videos, despite objections from Hess that it is “gruesome, abhorrent and shocking” and could affect jurors’ ability to remain neutral.

The video, played after the jury had left for the day, showed Michaud dying. Several of Michaud’s family members had to leave the courtroom while it played.

The house at 26 Union St. in Biddeford where Douglas Michaud was shot and killed by his tenant in September 2021. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Several businesses with surveillance cameras captured a man who appeared to be Hennessey driving his dirt bike from the scene, “weaving in traffic” and running red lights, Ackerman said. Hennessey was arrested in New Hampshire a few hours after the shooting; his bike had run out of gas, Ackerman said.

Ackerman said the jury also will hear about cellphone data that the Maine State Police analyzed in the hours leading up to Michaud’s death. She said the phone data will show that after Hennessey learned Michaud planned to evict him, he began calling Michaud and sent him several texts.

Ackerman said police also noticed Hennessey’s phone background was a green and white family crest.

“I live by force and arms,” it read.

“That’s what Randal Hennessey decided to have for his phone wallpaper,” Ackerman said. “That’s exactly how he lived on Sept. 14, 2021. He solved his problem with force and arms – and that’s how Doug Michaud lost his life.”

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