A Westbrook man charged with attempted murder will likely remain in jail while his case plays out in court.

Clemente Hernandez, 45, is accused of intentionally hitting a man with his SUV in October. Prosecutors originally charged him with lesser crimes, but he was reindicted this month on the attempted murder charge. He appeared at the Cumberland County Courthouse on Wednesday to plead not guilty to the new charges.

At that hearing, the prosecutor and defense attorney argued for changes in the $25,000 bail that is keeping him at the Cumberland County Jail.

Assistant District Attorney Amanda Doherty asked for bail to be increased to $50,000. She told the judge that Hernandez has allegedly been making phone calls from jail that include threats against the victim in the case and other people.

“I think it is quite likely that the victim in this particular case would be at risk of harm,” Doherty said, if Hernandez were released

Tina Heather Nadeau, who represents Hernandez, asked for bail to be reduced to $2,500. She said Maine Pretrial Services had screened Hernandez and agreed to a set of conditions for supervision while his case moves through the criminal justice system.

She argued that Hernandez only has one conviction on his record – a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child from 1995. He has lived in Maine for more than two decades and has ties to Maine, she said, and his employer was willing to help pay his bail so he could return to his job.

“At this time, $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 is completely out of reach,” Nadeau said. “He will sit in jail until he is either exonerated or sentenced, so this is a real hardship for his family.”

Judge Paul Fritzsche ultimately kept the bail at $25,000 rather than adjust it up or down.

“The concern is if what any significant portion of what the state says is true, Mr. Hernandez, who is probably gentle and law-abiding to the community as a whole, has some issues with one individual in particular,” the judge said.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Hernandez faces two counts of aggravated assault, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, reckless conduct, leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury and driving to endanger.

According to police reports, Hernandez was driving a 1999 GMC Suburban on Oct. 18 when he spotted the victim walking near Pennell Street in Westbrook. He allegedly veered over a curb and struck the man, leaving a dent in the hood of the vehicle. Police believe Hernandez was angry with the man because of his relationship with a woman.

Court documents show the 25-year-old man did not sustain any broken bones or life-threatening injuries.

Megan Gray can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainemegan

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