Antoinne "Prince" Bethea, 41, of New Haven, Connecticut, is pictured at his arraignment on a murder charge in June 2017. He pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the shooting death of Terrance Durel Sr., 36, of New Orleans, on April 16 in Bangor. His trial is to begin Aug. 20. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

Jury selection is set to begin Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor for the murder trial of the man accused of shooting to death the father of his girlfriend’s son on Easter Sunday 2017 in Bangor.

Antoinne “Prince” Bethea, 41, of New Haven, Connecticut, and Bangor was arrested May 21 in Euclid, Ohio, during a traffic stop after allegedly cutting off his dreadlocks and fleeing Maine, according to previously published reports.

Bethea is accused of killing Terrance Durel Sr., 36, of New Orleans on April 16, 2017, outside the home Bethea shared with Durel’s estranged wife at 2 Highland Ave., near Ohio Street. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder.

His trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 20 and last two weeks, according to the court clerk’s office. The jury pool is made up of 337 Penobscot County residents who have been told to report to the courthouse. Jury selection is expected to take three days.

Bethea’s defense attorney, Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor, said Friday in an email that his client acted in self-defense when he shot Durel.

“Antoinne Bethea did not want to harm anyone,” Tzovarras said. “But Terrance Durel, and a cohort, Stephen Lancaster, of Las Vegas, Nevada, showed up at Mr. Bethea’s home on Easter looking for a fight. Mr. Durel threatened Mr. Bethea over text messages [sent] earlier that day, and was high on cocaine and fentanyl when he showed up looking for Mr. Bethea.

“A fight ensued in the driveway of Mr. Bethea’s home, with both Mr. Durel and Mr. Lancaster teaming up on Mr. Bethea,” the attorney continued. “During the course of the fight, a firearm went off and Mr. Durel was hit, and later passed away. It was not Mr. Bethea’s intent to harm anyone that day, and any actions he took were to protect his own life, and his girlfriend and young child inside the home.”

Assistant Attorney General Zainea, who is prosecuting the case, declined to comment on the upcoming trial. It is the practice of the Maine attorney general’s office not to comment on pending cases.

The shooting stemmed from an argument, according to now 44-year-old Danielle Durel of Bangor, the victim’s estranged wife.

The victim, who used to live in Brewer, was at the house to get their son’s “Easter outfit” when the argument began, she said a few days after the shooting. She was inside helping the then 8-year-old boy change clothes when she heard three gunshots, she said. She ran out of the house and saw Prince and a friend of Terrence’s she identified only as “Primo” wrestling on the ground and tried to break up the scuffle, she said.

Danielle Durel said in May 2017 that she did not see a gun but did see her husband was bleeding from his stomach and leg, according to court documents. She drove him to the Eastern Maine Medical Center, with the assistance of a Bangor police officer, where he died later that day.

A neighbor said that she saw “Prince” and Terrance “wrestling with each other and eventually [they] went to the ground in the middle of the driveway,” a police affidavit said. “Dutton said Terrance was on his back with ‘Prince’ on top of him. Dutton said there was a lot of yelling and then she heard a few loud noises which she believes were gunshots. Dutton said ‘Prince’ quickly got up and announced that he needed to get out of there.”

Bethea has been held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail since he was returned to Maine in May 2017.

If convicted of murder, Bethea would face 25 years to life in prison.

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