ELLSWORTH — A Bar Harbor man was found guilty Friday in the rape and murder of a former classmate, 19-year-old Mikaela Conley.

Jalique Keene, 22, was charged with raping and killing Conley, a childhood friend, on June 1, 2018.

Keene testified in his own defense Friday, the trial’s fourth day, and acknowledged that a security camera showed him carrying Conley’s lifeless body, but said he doesn’t remember anything depicted in the video.

He also testified that there was a fight after he and Conley had consensual sex. But he answered “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall” about many of the events surrounding her death.

The defense contended the video and DNA evidence don’t prove that Keene is guilty of murder and gross sexual assault.

Authorities say Keene raped, beat and strangled his former high school classmate within 18 hours of his return from Europe, where he’d been playing American-style football. Conley gave Keene and two other people a ride home from Logan International Airport in Boston on May 31, 2018.

The Hancock County Superior Court jury deliberated for two hours Friday before rendering its verdict around 5:15 p.m. with about three dozen people in the courtroom.

Justice Robert Murray spoke to the gallery before the jury was brought back  to read its verdict, telling those present that if they were going to have difficulty remaining calm, they should leave. No one did.

“I recognize this has been a long, difficult trial,” Murray said. “I appreciate that. I thank those who have participated for their decorum. I can’t tolerate outbursts or disruptive behavior.”

The defendant and the murder victim had been friends and hung out in the same circle of young people growing up.

Keene said that after he and Conley got back to Bar Harbor from Boston they smoked marijuana, drank tequila and went to the playground at the Connors Emerson School that night.

Keene said he and Conley had consensual sex sometime after midnight. They stayed on the playground and talked, but later, Conley got upset. She agreed to meet Keene on the shore path in Bar Harbor but he said she never showed up.

Keene also testified about a recurring dream he had after his arrest. He would go back to the playground, find Conley unconscious, give her CPR and get blood on his face.

However, a clinical psychotherapist testified that may not have been a dream, but an event that actually happened, which Keene can’t recall.

Dr. Geoffrey Thorpe testified that Keene suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of childhood trauma.

He had been beaten by his birth father as a child and was abused by a foster mother as well, Thorpe said. Eventually, Keene would end up with a Bar Harbor family who adopted him and his younger brother.

Central to the case was surveillance video footage from school cameras.

In closing arguments, Maine Assistant Attorney General John Alsop recalled for the jury the video footage of Keene dragging Conley behind his back into a wooded area and washing himself with a water spigot at the school as proof that Keene murdered Conley.

“You see him go to the spigot,” Alsop said. “He washes his arms, he washes his legs, his shoes, his face. The fact that he’s hiding her body, he’s washing himself, he knows what he’s done and he doesn’t want to be caught.”

“So we don’t have video showing him murdering Mikaela Conley, we do have activities on video consistent with him murdering her.”

The defense in its closing questioned the state’s investigation as well as the lack of injury on Keene’s body.

Dawn Corbett, who defended Keene with Ellsworth Attorney Jeffrey Toothaker, said the state hadn’t conducted DNA testing of items found on the playground, including a tequila bottle that Keene and Conley had been shown drinking from on school surveillance footage.

A sentencing date hasn’t been set. Murray ordered Keene held without bail until sentencing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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