WHITING, Maine — Washington County District Attorney Matthew Foster has opted not to prosecute two men accused of attempted robbery on Nov. 1.
Foster said Tuesday that charges were dropped against Kristopher Preston and Richard Guptill, both of Roque Bluffs, due to insufficient evidence.
Preston and Guptill were arrested following a 911 call from a man on Gardner’s Lake Road in Whiting, who said two men in masks attempted to rob him at gunpoint shortly before 3 p.m. on Nov. 1, according to a news release issued the next day by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
The homeowner was armed and was able to foil the robbery, firing several shots as the suspects fled on foot, police reported. One or both allegedly fired back at the homeowner as they fled.
Preston was arrested in Ellsworth later that day and Guptill was arrested after being released from Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, where he was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg.
Washington County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Michael Crabtree said Wednesday that the case is not closed.
“It’s still under investigation and these charges can be brought back,” he said. “The bottom line is it’s not necessarily a dead issue.”
Crabtree said officers simply needed more time to investigate. In felony cases, authorities have seven years to file charges.
Guptill’s attorney, Jeffrey Davidson of Machias, said he would be surprised if charges were filed again.
Preston’s attorney, Arnold Clark of Calais, also acknowledged the possibility that the charges could be refiled but added he didn’t think it was likely.
Preston and Guptill have “a vastly different version of what happened that day,” Davidson said.
The attorney said Guptill was running away when the alleged victim shot at him.
“At this point, you’re not defending yourself, you’re shooting someone,” Davidson said of the alleged victim.
When Crabtree was asked if someone else might be charged in the case, he said, “There’s always a possibility someone else will be charged.” However, he said he could not say if the person identified as the victim in this case would be charged for shooting Guptill.
“We’ll do an investigation. We’ll look at everything,” Crabtree said.
Foster said Tuesday that police usually make an arrest after an investigation but, in this case, they made an arrest first and then needed additional time to complete their investigation.
“It was kind of out of order,” Foster said.