AUGUSTA — A West Gardiner man pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon to a two-count indictment charging him with murder and manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of 41-year-old James Haskell of Chelsea.

Derrick Dupont, 26, was arraigned on the indictment at the Capital Judicial Center. He was represented by attorney Pam Ames. The prosecutor was Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea.

Dupont was arrested Friday afternoon and spent the weekend at the Kennebec County jail.

On Monday, he was shackled and in a short-sleeved orange jail uniform. He told Justice Bruce Mallonee that he understood the charges.

Zainea said the state is seeking a Harnish bail hearing in an attempt to extinguish Dupont’s right to bail. Mallonee said that would be scheduled shortly. While that hearing is pending, Dupont is held without bail.

The case has been specially assigned to Justice William Stokes.

Ames said that the hearing should be set within five days; however, it might take somewhat longer given scheduling issues. She also indicated her client wants to have bail set.

The indictment was not accompanied by an affidavit by an investigator, and Ames said she did not have an affidavit and that she was told a search warrant was sealed in the case. She said she had no other details since she was appointed Monday morning.

Zainea said Assistant Attorney General John Alsop will be the prosecutor at trial. Zainea, who was filling in for him Monday, also said she did not know why more than two months elapsed between the shooting and an arrest.

Four of Haskell’s family members were accompanied by the victim advocate from the Maine Office of the Attorney General. Afterward they said they did not want to speak to a reporter.

“No comment,” one woman said.

Prior to the grand jury indictment, which was handed up Friday, there had been no charges regarding Haskell’s death. He was killed June 17, 2017, outside Dupont’s home at 9 Yeaton Drive in West Gardiner.

State police said in June they interviewed the person who did the shooting, but they did not identify the person.

The indictment says Dupont committed “intentional or knowing murder” and manslaughter, both with the use of a .40-caliber Beretta PX4 Storm pistol. Zainea said a jury would consider both charges.

The Office of Chief Medical Examiner has said Haskell was struck by bullets to his head, neck and abdomen.

On June 17, Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to the shooting scene at 9 Yeaton Drive in response to a 911 call at about 2:50 a.m. State police detectives joined them there later. There had been a number of people at the home prior to the shooting.

Two days later, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s log indicated, “Caller reports he shot someone.”

Yeaton Drive is just over the Farmingdale line in West Gardiner and directly across the Hallowell-Litchfield Road from Fuller’s Market.

Haskell’s step-mother, Allison Haskell, of North Waterboro, gave an interview with WCSH-6 TV, saying that while she had not seen her stepson in some time, he was working to get his life together.

She said he had struggled with drugs from a young age but that his death was not related to that.

“We loved him and he’s gone,” Haskell said on camera.

Public records show that Haskell had a lengthy criminal history and did extensive time in prison.

At age 23, he pleaded guilty in Kennebec County Superior Court to charges of gross sexual assault, burglary and reckless conduct, all of which occurred June 19, 1998, in Winthrop, where he lived at the time.

For the gross sexual assault, the most serious crime, he was ordered to serve 16 years in prison.

Haskell also was indicted on a charge of violation of sex offender registration that occurred March 14-May 8, 2014, in Gardiner, where he was living at the time. He was sentenced to serve nine months and a day behind bars for that offense.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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