AUGUSTA — A Winslow man charged with murder in the shooting death of 26-year-old Justin V. Smith of South China outside a pub in Waterville last December has signed away his right to a jury trial.

Matthew Partridge, 30, will be tried by a judge only.

Justice Michaela Murphy asked Partridge a series of questions Thursday morning in Kennebec County Superior Court before allowing him to sign the jury trial waiver.

Partridge, his hands clasped behind his back, responded “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am” to those questions.

Partridge has been in jail since his arrest the night of the shooting.

Murphy told Partridge his trial is set for Aug. 12 unless the case is resolved sooner.

The judge had given Partridge’s attorneys, Pamela Ames and Brad Grant, a deadline of Thursday for Partridge’s decision about a jury.

He was in the same courtroom two weeks ago as Dr. Margaret Greenwald, the state’s chief medical examiner, gave a deposition behind closed doors, presumably about the autopsy that provided the cause of Smith’s death.

According to a state police affidavit, Greenwald told officers previously that Smith died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Smith, of South China, was shot about 11 p.m. outside You Know Who’s Pub following a brief altercation between two groups of men. Partridge pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and said he shot Smith in self-defense.

Accounts of witnesses and Partridge say the initial altercation began outside the pub on The Concourse in Waterville and then Partridge and a friend got into Partridge’s truck.

Ames said Smith blocked Partridge’s truck from leaving and then punched Partridge in the nose so hard that Partridge believed his nose was broken. That’s why Partridge shot Smith, she said.

Partridge drove off and was stopped 20 minutes later by a state trooper. According to an affidavit by a state police detective, Partridge told the trooper about the shooting and said, “Like I don’t even know why he punched me in the face. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631
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