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LEWISTON — Coronavirus restrictions have forced the postponement of the trial of an Auburn man facing a murder charge from a Walmart parking lot shooting last summer, possibly until next year, the Lewiston Sun Journal reports.

The trial of Gage Dalphonse, 22, had been scheduled to start June 8 in the shooting last year of Jean Fournier, 41, of Turner, according to his lead attorney, Lewiston lawyer James Howaniec.

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Dalphonse’s trial is one of at least seven high-profile murder cases delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Six trials scheduled in April and May have been postponed. None have been reset.

Howaniec’s motion to have his client’s trial moved out of Androscoggin County has been put on hold due to a standing order of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that no juries will be assembled in April and May for trials nor to hand up indictments due to the pandemic.

Fournier allegedly was shot twice in the back after a dispute that occurred on July 27, 2019. Witnesses at the scene said that two men got into an argument that led to a fistfight just before Fournier was shot.

Police were called to the store shortly before 7 p.m. that night and found Fournier lying on his back unconscious. He was later pronounced dead at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, according to a police affidavit.

Dalphonse remained at the scene and allegedly told police he shot Fournier in self-defense. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

Fournier was among 22 victims of homicides in 2019.

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