A Presque Isle man who was found guilty on charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault last month for brutally kicking a Caribou man in the face was sentenced Thursday to nearly four years in prison for the crimes.
Jonathan Limary, 23, was found guilty after a weeklong jury trial in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton in connection with the death of Jean C. Bragdon.
Bragdon, a 44-year-old dishwasher at Jade Palace in Caribou, died on Nov. 17, 2017, at his best friend’s home. His death occurred in the weeks following a fight on Oct. 30, 2017, during which Limary kicked the victim in the face after Bragdon had just finished fighting another man. Multiple witnesses testified that Bragdon was “winded” and down on his hands and knees when Limary kicked him.
A court clerk said Friday that Limary was sentenced to 16 years with all but 45 months suspended on the manslaughter charge, and probation of four years. He also was ordered to pay more than $2,000 in restitution to the Bragdon family. Limary was sentenced to 45 months on the aggravated assault charge, which will run concurrent to the manslaughter charge.
[Prosecutor: Defendant kicked victim in face, leading to his death]
Limary will be allowed to remain free on bail while his attorneys appeal his conviction. He is living at a transitional facility for veterans in Caribou, and will get credit for the three months in jail he already has served.
In Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton on Thursday, he apologized to Bragdon’s family, according to court documents, and told Justice Harold Stewart II that he wished that he could go back to the night of the fight and take back his actions.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Bragdon’s brother-in-law, David White, said Friday that they were “very upset” by the sentence in the case and by the judge’s decision to allow Limary to remain free on bail.
“The judge put a great deal of emphasis on the turn around that Limary has made since he has been charged with the crime,” he said. “Well, who wouldn’t turn their life around if they were charged with a crime? It hurts us as a family that he is allowed to remain free, continuing his life, when our loved one has been dead because of his actions for nearly two years now.”
White said that he was so upset by the judge’s decision that he refused to stand up for him when court was over.
“I sat right there,” he said.
Family members also questioned whether Limary had written the statement he read in court to the family, or whether it had been written by his attorneys.
“We have to live without Jean for the rest of our lives,” he said. “That is a terrible feeling.”
[Presque Isle man found guilty of manslaughter after kicking victim in face]
During the trial, Dr. Mark Flomenbaum, Maine’s chief medical examiner, testified that Limary shattered or fractured more than 15 of Bragdon’s facial bones, including his nasal, orbital, cheek and jaw bones.
Limary admitted to police that he had kicked the victim.
Ten hours after Bragdon was released from the hospital following the second surgery, which Flomenbaum said was necessary for facial reconstruction and because the broken bones compromised his breathing, Bragdon collapsed and bled to death. His cause of death was listed as hemorrhagic complications following multiple fractures of the facial bones due to blunt force trauma to the head.
Bragdon and Limary were strangers to each other until the evening when the fight happened in the parking lot of a Caribou business. Bragdon went there to fight 20-year-old Andrew Geer of Presque Isle. Geer testified that after he and Bragdon scuffled for approximately 90 seconds, with each landing punches, he backed away from the victim.
He said that Limary “came out of nowhere” and kicked Bragdon. Jason Willette Sr., Bragdon’s best friend, testified that the fight stemmed from a dispute between Geer and Jason Willette Jr. on Facebook over comments being made about Brittney Willette, who is Willette Sr.’s daughter and Willette Jr.’s sister. Bragdon, who was visiting the Willettes, saw the comments, took offense and demanded Geer meet him to fight.
Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis said during closing arguments that Limary kicked Bragdon out of “retribution.”
Limary took the stand in his own defense, testifying that he kicked Bragdon to protect himself and others.
Defense Attorneys Adam Swanson and Hunter Tzovarras, who represented Limary, maintained that Limary did not cause Bragdon’s death. Tzovarras said in his closing arguments that Bragdon died from surgical complications after electing to have the second operation.
This story was originally published in The County.