The man sought by police in connection with a hit-and-run death in Acadia National Park was in a relationship with the woman who was killed and has a history of domestic violence convictions.

Nicole Mokeme had been dating Raymond Lester for more than three years and had known him for even longer, according to a Valentine’s Day message she posted on Facebook in 2021, in which she described their history together.

Mokeme and Lester, both 35, met through Lester’s sister, Mokeme wrote in a series of questions and answers that includes details of their love story, accompanied by a photo of the two of them in New Orleans smiling, decorated with pink heart emojis.

Nicole Mokeme was the founder of Rise and Shine Youth Retreat in Bowdoin. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Among the facts Mokeme listed: Lester was most interested in Mokeme, and was more impatient, more sensitive, and louder. She wore the pants, and was a better driver. Their first kiss was in her old apartment in South Portland. It took years, and seven months of being close friends, before they began dating.

Now police are asking the public for help finding Lester, who may be driving a black BMW SUV with damage to its front end and undercarriage.

It’s still unclear how Mokeme was struck and whether police believe Lester was driving the SUV when she was killed, and state police declined to provide more information Tuesday.


“This is still a very active investigation,” said state police spokesperson Shannon Moss. “Law enforcement is still actively looking for Lester.”

Lester’s criminal record shows a history of domestic violence starting in 2008, when he was charged by Portland police with domestic violence assault. He pleaded guilty, paid a $300 fine and was sentenced to 22 days in jail, according to a statewide criminal history report.

Nicole Mokeme and Raymond Lester are pictured on Bourbon Street in New Orleans in this undated photo Mokeme posted on her Facebook page on Feb. 14, 2021.

Two years later, in 2010, Lester was charged again with domestic violence assault and theft, pleaded guilty, paid another $300 fine and was sentenced to jail for 45 days.

The second domestic violence arrest came about a month after Lester was served with a protection from abuse order.

Only basic information about his arrests, convictions and the protection order were available Tuesday. Court files that may contain details of the arrests had already been moved to cold storage and were not immediately available.

In April 2011, Lester was arrested again for violating the protective order, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to five days in jail. A few months after that, in July 2011, he was charged a third time with domestic violence assault and criminal mischief. The charge was upgraded to a felony because of his prior history, but he pleaded to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to six months in jail.


Between 2012 and 2021, Lester was arrested several times more, for misuse of identification, drug possession, theft, disorderly conduct, refusing to submit to arrest, felony-level receiving stolen property, and forgery; his longest sentence was to serve 21 days of a two-year suspended sentence followed by two years probation.

There were also a 2012 conviction for assault, and in 2021 another assault charge in Rockland, but Lester received a deferred disposition, a deal in which prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charge if Lester complied with conditions set out by the court, which typically include not engaging in new criminal conduct.

Mokeme was the creative director of the Rise and Shine Youth Retreat, which offers wellness retreats and other programs for Black youths and adults. She was one of the organizers of the Black Excellence Retreat 2022 at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor, which was in progress when the hit-and-run occurred sometime between Saturday night and early Sunday.

The retreat was the second held in collaboration with the institute and was described as “a getaway for Black folks and their friends and families of all backgrounds to join together in community to celebrate Juneteenth, liberation and Black excellence,” according to a post on the retreat’s Instagram.

The retreat was scheduled from June 14 to 20 and was designed specifically to give Black youth and adults a laid-back time for deep rest, outdoor exploration and art. Mokeme partnered in organizing the retreat with the Racial Equity and Justice Organization and other activists.

Mokeme was featured by the Portland Press Herald in its 2020 “Mainers to be Thankful For,” an annual showcase of people who do great good for others. She told the Press Herald at the time how she fell in love with camping during her first trip and started a camping weekend getaway for teens of color.

“She was always planning the next thing on how to bring community together to heal and build,” said Desiree Vargas, co-founder and co-director of the Racial Equity and Justice Organization. “She was a light to everybody.”

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