Derrick Dupont, a Whitefield man accused of shooting James L. Haskell in 2017, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

In a plea agreement with state prosecutors, the murder charge will be dismissed, but no sentence was determined. That will be set by a judge on May 6.

Assistant Attorney General John Alsop, who prosecuted the case, confirmed Dupont pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea agreement with the state, in which the state will dismiss the murder charge on which Dupont was indicted in August 2017.

Alsop declined to comment on why the state made the agreement to dismiss the murder charge, saying only that it would be “dismissed when we’re done with this.”

Haskell, 41, of Chelsea, died of gunshot wounds to the head, neck and abdomen, according to the state medical examiner’s office.

Dupont, 28, shot Haskell to death in the early morning of June 17, 2017, in the front yard of what then was Dupont’s West Gardiner home. He was arrested on murder and manslaughter charges after his Aug. 24, 2017, indictment, roughly two months after the incident was reported, though he was released after posting $80,000 worth of real estate as bail. He initially pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Dupont was scheduled to go to trial on murder and manslaughter charges next week, with jury selection scheduled to start Monday.

On June 17, 2017, Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to 9 Yeaton Drive in West Gardiner in response to a 911 call about 2:50 a.m., with the sheriff’s log indicating a caller “reports he shot someone.”

A court filing from the defense, seeking to amend bail, stated that Dupont was “charged with this offense following an altercation at Mr. Dupont’s residence where the alleged victim was trespassing and allegedly threatening to kill the occupants of the home.”

Dupont’s attorneys, Pamela Ames and Scott Hess, could not be reached for comment Friday.

A number of people had been at the home before the shooting, and they were interviewed as part of the police investigation. State police said in June 2017 they had interviewed the shooting suspect, but they did not identify the person until Dupont was arrested that August.

Haskell was dead when police arrived at the scene, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

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

Details were slow to emerge in the case. At a September 2017 bail hearing, four members of Haskell’s family, through a victim advocate, indicated they did not want to speak to a reporter.

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

 

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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