Lawyers and father seek to show jury Auburn’s gunman acted in self-defense

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AUGUSTA – Defense lawyers for Gage Dalphonse on Monday sought to prove that he acted in self-defense when he shot Jean Fournier in the back twice in the Auburn Walmart parking lot in 2019.

This strategy was to call an expert witness and Dalphonse’s father.

Gage Dalphonse, 23, of Auburn, last Wednesday listened to lawyers give opening statements at the start of his murder trial at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal dossier

Daniel Dalphonse took the witness stand to testify in the murder trial of his 23-year-old son. He came equipped with visual aids, including a video of him shooting his son’s Glock handgun from the driver’s seat of his car.

The defense suggested that this demonstration shows that the gun was fired from inside the car. The visual aids were also accompanied by pictorial photographs purported to show the trajectory of the bullets, as presented by state investigators, which the defense said showed Fournier still had to be next to Dalphonse’s driver-side door when the shooting took place.

Defense team expert witness Marc Dupré is a forensic scientist and co-owner of a New Hampshire forensic consultation and training service. He worked more than 20 years as a medical examiner for the New Hampshire State Police, most notably as an Evidence Review Unit Supervisor before leaving to become a consultant.

Dupre testified that his review of the evidence, including reports from Maine State Police investigators, the autopsy report and Walmart security videos, indicated that at least the first shot was was produced when Fournier, 41, was right outside Dalphonse’s driver-side window.

Dupre testified that if the state’s findings that Fournier suffered from paralysis on the first stroke are correct, then the second stroke came with Fournier in the back of the car, near where he was seated. ‘collapsed. If those findings are not taken into account, he said other evidence points to Fournier being shot closer to the driver’s side window.

Dupre said his review of the evidence, including an analysis of the trajectory of the first bullet fired at Fournier, would be consistent with the testimony of Dalphonse’s best friend and passenger that day, Defghan Zitsch, that Fournier was reaching out. in the car and tried to open the door.

“This positioning (next to the driver’s door), I would say, is much more in line with what really happened, from the trajectory,” said Dupré.

State investigators have previously said they believed Fournier de Turner was shot while he was already running away from the car in the back of the vehicle. They said one of the bullets that hit Fournier damaged his spinal cord, which would have paralyzed him from the waist down.

This injury would mean that when Fournier was fleeing the car, the bullet had not yet hit him and, as a result, Dalphonse had shot Fournier as he was fleeing.

Fournier’s location when he was shot is critical as the defense has acknowledged that Auburn’s Dalphonse shot Fournier, but claims he did so in self-defense.

Video from Walmart security cameras shows Fournier running away next to Dalphonse’s driver-side window and taking two or three steps in the back of the car before collapsing onto the sidewalk, with two gunshot wounds in the back.

Dalphonse told witnesses who asked him why he shot Fournier: “He shouldn’t have hit me in the face” and sought to convince bystanders that he acted in self-defense, according to Nicholas Gallant , a witness who was with his family leaving Walmart after buying a DVD the night of the shoot.

“He was rather smiling. I hate to say it, but he was almost smiling, like he was satisfied. Do you know what I mean? “Gallant, a state witness, testified about his brief interaction with Dalphonse after the shooting and before the police arrived.” I asked (Dalphonse) why he shot in the back. He said, ‘He shouldn’t have hit me in the face.’ “

Another witness repeated that Dalphonse said Fournier should not have hit him in the face. But Christopher Morris, a defense witness, said Dalphonse appeared shocked and stunned, neither satisfied nor smiling, after the shooting. Morris said Dalphonse had no shirt on when the two spoke because he took it off so it could be used to apply pressure to try to keep Fournier from bleeding.

Dalphonse’s father testified when his son’s car, a 2017 Volkswagen GTI, was returned to the family by police about three weeks after the shooting, he was shocked to see a bullet casing on a floor mat.

Dupre testified that the way the Glock ejected its casings made it likely that the pistol was fired from inside the car. And if the shot had been fired outside the car, the cartridge case would have been found outside and towards the front of the car.

Police said a socket was found in the parking lot next to the car and the other on the driver’s side groundsheet.

But the detective sergeant. Scott Bryant, commander of the Evidence Response Team for Maine State Police at the State Crime Lab, said the ejection patterns are inconsistent and not a reliable indicator of l place where a gun was fired.

The shooting follows a chance encounter in the Walmart parking lot on the evening of July 27, 2019, according to reports. With his friend as a passenger, Dalphonse was crossing the parking lot and saw Fournier’s girlfriend, Tara Nguyen.

The two, who had worked together at a nursing home in the area, had a dispute. They exchanged insults in the parking lot of the store as Dalphonse drove. Fournier, whom Dalphonse did not know, followed Dalphonse’s car, which parked in a parking lot.

Fournier approached the car and asked Dalphonse to apologize to Nguyen. When Dalphonse refused, Fournier punched him while Dalphonse was sitting at the wheel. Dalphonse then pulled out a gun, shooting Fournier twice in the back.

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