AUGUSTA — When Jeremy Clement drove his four-wheeler from Fairfield to Oakland after reportedly calling his girlfriend multiple times on the phone, broke through the door of the house where she was staying and fired a round from the handgun he was armed with, wounding her, he was really trying to commit suicide, his defense attorney argued as Clement’s trial for attempted murder got underway Monday.

In his opening statement, the prosecutor disagreed. Not only did Clement come to kill his girlfriend that night, the state’s attorney said, he intended to kill her family, too.

Clement, 36, is charged with attempted murder, burglary, elevated aggravated assault, assault and possession of a firearm on April 19, 2017, the date police say he drove a four-wheeler to the Caret house in Oakland, kicked in the door, got into an altercation with Roseanna Caret after asking to talk to her daughter, Jasmine Caret, then shot Jasmine Caret in the shoulder. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in October 2017.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan said Monday that the shooting was a moment that was “never going to stand by itself” and asked the jury of eight men and four women, “How does that single moment become an event that turns into evidence that then convinces each and every one of you beyond reasonable doubt what defined that moment?”

While the shooting was a single moment, Clement’s attorney, Walter McKee, said there was more to the story. Clement and Jasmine Caret had been communicating that day, he said, but Clement intended to kill himself that day. However, when he got to the house where Caret was living with her mother, Roseanne, in Oakland, things got out of hand. He was hit in the head by a baseball bat, and the gun went off.

Jasmine Caret, testifying in the afternoon in Kennebec County Superior Court, nearly became ill and sobbed after she was shown the bloody shirt she had been wearing the day she was shot. She had a similar reaction to seeing the bat her mother used to beat Clement with. She asked for a trash can in case she got sick.

Jasmine Caret said Clement called close to 100 times that day and played songs for her. One song had the lyric “I didn’t mean to treat you all so bad, but I did it anyway.” She said she may have called him once in the day.

Caret, wearing a pink dress with a white sweater, showed the scar where she was shot. She said she no longer has the full use of her right hand. She had to learn to write with her left hand and no longer can do simple daily tasks such as tie her shoes.

“I can’t feel my fingers,” she said. “I can’t straighten my hand.”

Clement did not show emotion during the entire first day of the trial, instead looking forward without expression. Aside from one moment near the end of the first day, he faced forward and did not look at those observing the trial.

The physician who treated Jasmine Caret, Dr. Lawrence Kassman, the prosecution’s first witness, said Caret was “awake and alert” when she was brought in, though she had a collapsed lung that required treatment. The doctor estimated that Caret’s lung was roughly 20 percent collapsed. He said people can die of collapsed lungs if they go untreated. She also had nerve damage in her right arm, likely from being shot.

Jasmine Caret testified she was concerned about Clement’s welfare that day and called police.

Fairfield police Sgt. Matthew Wilcox corroborated her testimony, saying Caret had called him to check on Clement earlier in the day. He said Clement was “tearful and upset” but did not appear to want to take his own life. He spoke on the phone with Clement later in the day, but the call was cut short when he had to assist another officer.

“I’ve dealt with Jeremy on a couple of different occasions,” Wilcox said.

Jasmine Caret’s mother, Roseanna, testified she had known Clement since her daughter was 13, and that he had called her daughter at least 20 times that day and was angry over the phone. She said she heard Clement say, “I’m going to kill you and your family, too.”

Around 8:30 p.m. that night, she heard his four-wheeler come into her driveway. She said that by the sound of his voice, she could tell Clement wanted to hurt them.

“I was concerned for my daughter,” she said.

Roseanna Caret got a baseball bat her late son had made in high school, which Madigan showed to the jury. She said Clement kicked open the door, which sent her flying and caused her to “black out.” She came to when she heard a loud bang and began hitting Clement after she realized he had shot her daughter.

“I was gonna protect Jasmine,” she said.

Kassman, the doctor, said he did not treat Clement directly, but he did have a laceration on his head that required 20 to 25 staples to close.

During cross-examination, McKee questioned Roseanne Caret’s testimony and memory. He said Caret had said in an earlier statement under oath that she attacked Clement with the baseball bat before he shot her daughter. Caret said she later retracted that statement.

The exchange between Roseanna Caret and McKee got heated to the point that Justice Bill Stokes had to ask Roseanna Caret not to speak over McKee and only answer the questions he asked. Roseanna Caret said she did not remember all the events from that day, including how many times Clement fired the gun, whether she spoke to an officer who was speaking to her mother May, who was also present at the house, and whether Jasmine had struck Clement with a croquet mallet.

Roseanna Caret did admit that she heard Clement say over the phone while he was on a speaker that he was going to kill himself, although earlier she had said she did not hear him say that.

She did not see Clement shoot her daughter, but said that she was awakened by the bang of the gun, at which point she “commenced” hitting Clement with the bat.

Roseanna Caret speaks April 20, 2017, about subduing Jeremy Clement after he allegedly entered her home in Oakland and shot her daughter, Jasmine Caret, the previous evening. Roseanna Caret suffered serious head wounds while fighting off Clement with a bat before police arrived and arrested him. Staff file photo by David Leaming

McKee said Caret said she heard three shots in an earlier statement, but Caret said she did not remember. One bang she could have heard, she said, was when the officers subdued Clement with a Taser.

Photos of the wounds Roseanne Caret suffered were entered into evidence, including bruises on her neck and back, as well as a wound to her skull from when she was thrown back by the door. She said she landed on jars, which cut her head.

In the afternoon, Jasmine Caret’s grandmother May was called to the stand. She kept a log of all the calls Clement made to her house that day, and said she saw him take a pistol out of his pocket. She said he had lied when he came to the house when he said he didn’t have a weapon.

McKee played a recording of an earlier statement she had made, in which she said she did not see Clement shoot Jasmine, but May Caret seemed to become confused.

“That don’t sound like my voice,” she said.

Jasmine Clement admitted having been drinking that day and said in the past she has struggled with alcoholism, having gone through treatment eight years ago.

McKee asked her why she had said in an earlier statement that she had not been drinking that day. She said she was advised to lie about drinking, but couldn’t recall who advised her.

A blood-alcohol test had been administered to Jasmine Caret, Kassman, the doctor, said, and it indicated she probably had been drinking and could be considered legally intoxicated that day.

Caret’s mother said she saw her daughter drink three Twisted Teas but did not believe she had been drinking earlier in the day.

David Grant, who lives across the street from the Caret house, testified that Jasmine called him earlier that night to ask for help in case Clement came. Grant said he later heard “glass breaking and screaming” and went over to the house. At that time, Jasmine was just coming out, already having been shot. He said he went inside to separate Clement from Roseanna.

“I just pulled him off, grabbed him and dragged him across the floor,” Grant said. He said he helped police subdue Clement.

During McKee’s questioning, Grant said Roseanna Caret was beating Clement with the baseball bat.

David Grant surveys a room where blood remains on the floor and walls on April 20, 2017, at his neighbors’ home at 230 Oak St. in Oakland. Jeremy Clement allegedly entered the home the previous day and shot Jasmine Caret, whereupon her mother, Roseanna Caret, subdued Clement with a bat before police arrived and arrested him. Grant assisted police in the arrest. Staff file photo by David Leaming

Oakland police Officer Todd Burbank testified that Clement resisted arrest. He screamed profanities at Burbank and attempted to kick the window out of the police cruiser. Burbank tried to take Clement to the hospital because he had a laceration on his head, but Clement kept trying to kick the window out, so Burbank said he stopped the car and used pepper spray to subdue Clement. He then took him to the hospital. After searching Clement, he found a .40-caliber bullet on him.

Peter Thibbetts, a school resource officer with the Oakland Police Department, collected the spent shell casing, the handgun, the baseball bat and croquet mallets. He said the gun appeared to have jammed after it was fired initially.

In answer to a question from McKee, Thibbetts said May Caret had said Clement fired three times and had pointed the gun at Roseanna, though the gun was fired only once.

David Savage, the town’s code enforcement officer, who was a sergeant with Oakland police, also testified. When he got to the scene, he said, he helped Jasmine Caret by applying pressure to her wounds before paramedics arrived.

Court is scheduled to reconvene at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Stokes said it’s the jury could begin its deliberations Tuesday afternoon, but the trial is expected to last into Wednesday.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

 

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