PORTLAND — Maine’s highest court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of a 24-year-old man convicted of manslaughter, drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident in the hit-and-run death of a University of Maine student.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the conviction of Garrett Cheney of South Berwick, who’s serving seven years for striking 20-year-old Jordyn Bakley of Camden with his pickup truck on an Orono street on Jan. 30, 2010, and then driving away. Bakley was a junior at the school.

In his appeal, Cheney argued that the evidence was insufficient to support a manslaughter conviction. He also challenged several decisions made by the trial judge, including allowing testimony to continue after three jurors were approached by an unidentified man outside of the courtroom who told them to convict Cheney, saying “Don’t pull a Casey Anthony on us.”

Anthony was acquitted of murder in 2011 in Florida in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, and public outrage over her verdict was still in the media spotlight when Cheney’s trial began two weeks later.

In a 19-page decision, supreme court justices unanimously ruled that the evidence was sufficient to convict Cheney. They also rejected Cheney’s contention that the trial judge erred in denying his post-trial motion seeking a new trial because the man had made statements to the jurors.

During the trial, the jurors who heard the comments told the judge that they could remain impartial, and both the prosecutor and the defense attorney said they wanted to continue the proceedings, with neither side asking for a mistrial, according to the ruling.

Cheney, who was not a University of Maine student, was in Orono visiting a cousin and drove his pickup truck after drinking heavily that night, according to the decision.


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