Bruce Akers leaves York County Superior Court in Alfred on Thursday after Justice Wayne Douglas ruled that he could be released from jail on personal recognizance while awaiting his second trial in the killing of neighbor Douglas Flint. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

A Limington man who has been incarcerated while facing a murder charge in the death of his neighbor was released on personal recognizance Thursday while he awaits a new trial.

Bruce Akers was charged with killing Douglas Flint, 55, of Limington, in June 2016. A jury found Akers guilty in January 2020 and he was sentenced to 38 years in state prison.

But last fall, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Superior Court Justice Wayne Douglas erred in allowing the jury to hear statements that Akers gave police without being read his Miranda rights. As a result, the high court vacated Akers’ conviction and sent the case back for a new trial.

Douglas Flint

In that same ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court also said that York County Sheriff’s officers conducted an illegal search of Akers’ property. They used what they observed in that search to secure a search warrant the next day, which helped investigators find the body of his neighbor, Douglas Flint, on Akers’ property.

Douglas ruled this month that the state will not be allowed to use any evidence obtained through that search warrant, including a K-9 search that led officers to Flint’s body and the alleged murder weapon, a machete. It is unclear what, if any, evidence remains for trial.

Akers has been in state custody since his 2016 arrest. He was held without bail as he awaited his first trial, and again after his conviction was vacated in September. In May, Douglas set $200,000 cash bail for Akers as he awaited his second trial.


After a brief conversation with Douglas about his ruling, Assistant Attorney General Bud Ellis, prosecuting Akers’ case, did not object Thursday to a motion by Akers’ defense attorney, Kristine Hanly, to release Akers from York County Jail on personal recognizance.

According to court records, the 64-year-old Akers will live with his brother pending his next trial. He has agreed not to have contact with members of Flint’s family and not to enter the property where prosecutors say the murder occurred.

Although the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state’s evidence was obtained unconstitutionally, Ellis argued to Douglas that officers would’ve inevitably found Flint’s body and arrested Akers, even without the illegal search.

Officers who testified during a hearing in early June described their policies for locating a missing person, saying they likely would’ve initiated a K-9 search without knowing Flint was dead.

Douglas said in his ruling that the officers were only speculating about what they would’ve done, and based on their actions there’s no firm argument that they would have inevitably found Flint’s body.

“Although his speculation was credible,” Douglas wrote, referring to testimony from Sgt. Steven Thistlewood who was working for the sheriff’s office at the time, “it was also unspecific as to timing and details – and leaves much to speculation.”


York County Sheriff William L. King Jr. declined a request for an interview Thursday night on the judge’s ruling or the court’s criticism of the methods his officers used to search Akers’ property and to arrest him.

King said that Akers was released from custody around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Akers was held at the York County Jail from June 11, 2016, until his transfer to the Maine State Prison on Nov. 16, 2020, King said. He was later transferred from the state prison back to the York County Jail, where he had been held since April 27, 2022.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office said it is still reviewing the case, as well as Douglas’ decision from this month. Danna Hayes, a spokesperson for the office, said prosecutors still have time to file an appeal.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this story

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