FARMINGTON — A Franklin County grand jury may decide next month whether to indict Ryan J. Ouimet, the 24-year-old accused of manslaughter in the shooting death of a college friend in Farmington.

A status conference was held Friday afternoon in Franklin County Superior Court to update attorneys about the case, which has been on hold since May until prosecutors can go before the next grand jury to seek an indictment, according to Deputy Attorney General William Stokes.

Another status conference was scheduled for two weeks before the grand jury meets on Sept. 15.

If the case is not resolved it will likely go before the grand jury. An indictment is needed to proceed with a trial, according to Stokes, whose office is handling the prosecution.

Ouimet, of Colts Neck, N.J., is charged in the shooting death of Andrew Holland, 23, of Cape Elizabeth. They were friends who graduated together from University of Maine at Farmington, and the shooting happened May 31 in an apartment just blocks from the campus.

Court’s use status conferences to meet with attorneys and monitor cases while awaiting a grand jury session. Meanwhile, the prosecution is preparing to take the case to trial, while continuing discussions with the defense attorneys, Stokes said.

Ouimet’s attorney, Michael Cunniff, declined Friday to comment on the status of the case.

The court has not set any deadlines for action related to the case, according to Cunniff, who is with the Portland and Bangor-based firm of McCloskey, Mina & Cunniff.

Ouimet did not appear in court Friday, and Justice Michaela Murphy conducted the conference by phone, with Cunniff participating along with Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson, who is prosecuting the case.

Murphy cleared the courtroom in Farmington during the phone conference, which Cunniff said lasted 15 minutes. The next conference will be Sept. 2, he said.

Ouimet remains out of jail on $10,000 cash bail. On June 15, Murphy granted a request to let Ouimet return home, ordering that he stay with his parents and have New Jersey police supervise his bail conditions.

His bail conditions have not changed, and no violations of the conditions have been reported by pretrial services agencies supervising Ouimet, who is currently in Maine, according to Cunniff.

Benson left a phone message giving the date of the next status conference, which he described as being set in hopes of coming to terms in the case. He did not return a request for further details.

According to an affidavit, Ouimet told investigators he was holding the gun and dancing to music just before the shooting. He changed the song, turned and the gun went off and Holland was struck in the chest, according to the sworn affidavit, given by Maine State Police Detective Jeffrey S. Love.

Holland died from the gunshot wound after being taken by ambulance to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, according to the Maine Medical Examiner’s Office.

Ouimet faces a maximum 30-year prison sentence for the manslaughter charge, according to Stokes.

David Robinson – 861-9287

[email protected]

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