Austin McDevitt, the man charged with killing a Belfast man, makes his initial court appearance in Belfast.

BELFAST, Maine — A Morrill man accused of shooting to death a man with whom he shared love interest a year ago in Swanville is expected to stand trial late next month — but a judge has ruled that statements he allegedly made to police immediately after the shooting will largely be excluded from the proceedings.

Austin McDevitt, 22, drove himself to the Belfast police station in the early morning of March 15, 2019, in order to turn himself in after shooting 26-year-old Shane Sauer, according to a judgement issued last week by Justice Robert Murray. No one was there at that time, so McDevitt called 911 and told the operator he had been involved in a fight in which he fatally shot someone.

A Waldo County Sheriff’s Office deputy and two Maine State Police detectives met him at the station, then brought him to the sheriff’s office in order to make a video recording of their conversation. They questioned McDevitt from about 6:40 a.m. until after 10 a.m. — but most of what he told them in those hours will be suppressed from the “case-in-chief” that state prosecutors will make at the trial, according to Murray’s order.

That’s because McDevitt, who has been held without bail since his arrest on a murder charge last year, clearly asked — twice — to have a lawyer present during the questioning, but state police detectives didn’t provide him one.

“Now, having those rights which I just explained to you in mind, do you wish to answer our questions at this time?” Detective Jason Andrews asked at the beginning of the conversation, after reading and explaining McDevitt’s Miranda rights.

“Yes, but I would like to have a lawyer here, too, but I do want to explain my situation,” McDevitt responded.

“You just said kind of two things,” Andrews said. “I just want to clarify stuff. Would you like to talk to us?”

“I would, yes,” McDevitt responded. “I would like to talk to you, and I would also like to talk to a lawyer, too, at the same time.”

The questioning continued, and the detective told McDevitt he could stop at any time and did not have to respond.

McDevitt reportedly told police that he and a woman had been sleeping in a camper at about 4:30 a.m. when Sauer, who had previously been romantically connected to the woman, snuck inside. McDevitt told police that he awoke to Sauer hitting him in the face. The two men fought inside the camper before separating. That’s when McDevitt allegedly went to his car to get a handgun, according to a police affidavit filed in support of his arrest. He told officers that he shot Sauer after he left the camper, and that Sauer had allegedly threatened to kill him. McDevitt said that Sauer’s hands were empty and that he was not coming toward him when he started to shoot. McDevitt told police he pointed his gun at Sauer’s chest because “he knew not to shoot to wound.” McDevitt allegedly shot Sauer four times before he fell to the ground, then three more times when he was on the ground. He told police that he fired “every bullet he had at Sauer,” and that he was concerned about accidentally hitting the woman while shooting at Sauer “because that would be an extra charge.”

McDevitt only stopped talking to police when his family members arrived at the sheriff’s office with an attorney who told them that he would no longer answer the detectives’ questions.

Last fall, McDevitt’s lawyer, Rick Morse of Rockland, moved to suppress the statements his client made to police, claiming they were not made voluntarily and that police had not properly read him his rights.

In part, at least, the judge agreed with him.

“Law enforcement twice ignored McDevitt’s invocation of his right to have an attorney present during questioning and instead proceeded into questioning after attempting to effectuate a waiver of McDevitt’s Miranda rights,” the judge wrote.

But Murray found that McDevitt’s statements were not coerced by police who did inform him of his rights.

“He was not suffering from any apparent mental illness (nor has he argued that he was),” the judge wrote. “McDevitt was articulate, he was emotionally stable, and his conduct during the interrogation did not raise any red flags.”

Ultimately, the judge ruled that McDevitt’s voluntary statements “are not barred from use for impeachment purposes.” That means if McDevitt testifies in his own defense and it is inconsistent with what he told police that morning, state prosecutors will be permitted to play police recordings that detail those inconsistencies.

Last April, at a hearing to determine if McDevitt should be allowed bail, his lawyer painted a picture of a young man who was in “significant confusion, pain and fear” when he woke up to a severe beating at the hands of Sauer, and that his client acted in valid self-defense when he shot and killed him.

But Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea argued at the same hearing that Sauer’s death was an “execution-like murder.”

“If there were ever a suggestion of overkill — and I use that term not loosely here — it’s this case,” she said then.

Jury selection for McDevitt’s homicide trial is scheduled to begin April 8. The trial is expected to begin April 27.