HOULTON — A cousin of one of three people stabbed to death in June 2010 was accused on Tuesday of telling a juror to “hang” the man on trial in the killings and was charged with jury tampering.

Albert Gaudet made the hanging comment while holding a door for a juror in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton, where Thayne Ormsby is on trial for three counts of murder, state police said. The juror told a court official about the comment, and Gaudet was charged, police said.

Ormsby is charged in the fatal stabbings of 55-year-old Jeffrey Ryan, his 10-year-old son, Jesse, and a family friend, 30-year-old Jason Dehahn, at Ryan’s house in Amity, in the northern part of the state. Each count of murder he faces carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison upon conviction. He has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.

The male juror told a court official that Gaudet, who’s from Standish, said, “I hope you hang the bastard,” state police said.

The trial was delayed to allow attorneys for both sides to question the juror, who said he could remain impartial. He will remain on the jury.

State police Lt. Christopher Coleman then interviewed Gaudet, Dehahn’s cousin, before charging him with a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said.

It’s the first time in recent memory anybody has been charged with jury tampering during a state homicide trial, McCausland said.

Gaudet, 52, has been freed on bail in the jury tampering case. There’s no telephone listing for him. Jail officials didn’t have information on whether he had retained a lawyer.

State police detectives testified Tuesday that they linked DNA found on three half-empty beer bottles and a cigarette at Ryan’s mobile home to the 21-year-old Ormsby, who was living with a couple in the nearby town of Orient at the time.

Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes told jurors in his opening statement on Monday that Ormsby had a list of two people he wanted to kill and that he went to Ryan’s home intending to kill him. But Ormsby didn’t expect Ryan’s son or Dehahn to be there, Stokes said.

The second person on the list hadn’t previously been publicly mentioned in connection to the case, and he was not physically harmed.

Defense attorney James Dunleavy told jurors he would put the events “into context” during the trial.

Jurors also heard graphic detail about the stabbings from former state medical examiner Dr. Marguerite DeWitt, who now teaches in Texas. She testified that the victims died of multiple stab wounds and appeared to be trying to elude their killer.


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