BANGOR, Maine — The jury trial of a Hampden man accused of threatening his wife with a shotgun early Easter morning nearly two years ago began Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Perry Brent Antone Jr. , 33, of Hampden is facing six charges — felony domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, as well as the threatening display of a weapon, two counts of violation of conditions of release and two counts of violation of a protection order, all misdemeanors.
Antone allegedly violated his bail on the weapon charges and a temporary protection from abuse order when he had indirect contact with his wife on May 4, 2014, and June 3, 2014, via social media. Conditions of Antone’s personal recognizance bail and the temporary protection from abuse order prevented him from having contact with his wife and children.
Antone was home on leave from the U.S. Army in the spring of 2014 when he went out drinking the night of April 19 and returned home late, Assistant Attorney General Paul Rucha, who is prosecuting the case, said Tuesday in his opening statement. Antone and his wife got into an argument that woke the couple’s then 9-year-old son and then 6-year-old daughter.
Antone’s wife took the children out to one of the couple’s two vehicles but did not have the keys, Rucha told the jury of 11 women and three men, including two alternates. Antone came out of the house with a shotgun and circled the car, while racking it.
“And, he says to her: ‘You know I’d never hurt the kids,’” Rucha told jurors.
After a few minutes, Antone went back into the couple’s mobile home, about a quarter-mile off West Winterport Road, the prosecutor said. The woman took the children down the long driveway and called 911 about 1:10 a.m.
Hampden police Officer Ben Eyles spoke with Antone for about an hour before he left the home unarmed and turned himself over to police about 2 a.m., according to a previously published report.
Defense attorney Walter McKee of Augusta told the jury that “the rest of the story” was that there was no shell in the shotgun Antone was holding.
“He was clear with her that the shotgun was not loaded,” he said in his opening statement. “He showed her that it was not loaded several times.”
McKee also told jurors that Antone never said anything threatening to his wife, so the prosecution would be unable to prove she was “in imminent fear of actual harm.” The defense attorney also said that there was no direct or indirect contact between Antone and his wife even though the prosecution claims he followed an Instagram account in his daughter’s name and his wife’s eBay account.
“That’s akin to kind of, maybe, like contact but is that contact at all?” McKee asked the jury.
Antone and his wife divorced last year, according to documents filed at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
The trial is scheduled to take three days.
The Maine attorney general’s office last year took over prosecution of the case at the request of Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy. Antone’s father, Perry Antone Sr, is the police chief in Brewer and works closely with Almy and his staff.
“They wanted to avoid any conflict,” Timothy Feeley, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said in June.
If convicted of the most serious charge of domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, Antone faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
If convicted of the threatening display of a weapon and/or violating the protection order charges, he’d face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Antone faces up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted of violating bail.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.