Carine Reeves enters the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center on Thursday. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

The opening statements in the murder trial of a New York man charged in the 2017 killing of a New Gloucester woman focused on the role of another woman who was allegedly in a relationship with both the defendant and victim.

Carine Reeves, 40, is accused of shooting to death Sally Shaw, 55, of New Gloucester. Her body was found in July 2017 in Cherryfield by a passing motorist on Route 193, according to court documents.

On Thursday, the opening statements from both the prosecution and defense addressed the relationship between Shaw, Reeves and then 19-year-old Quaneysha Greeley of Lewiston, who was also charged with Shaw’s murder but later pleaded guilty to lesser charges of drug trafficking and hindering apprehension.

Greeley, Shaw and Reeves were all in a relationship together, according to court documents. All three of them were also involved in selling drugs across Maine.

Reeves’ murder trial, which began this week, is the first one to be held in person since the coronavirus forced courts to shut down in March. The precautions included masks, social distancing and the closure of the courtroom to the public.

In the prosecution’s opening statement, Assistant Attorney General Megan Elam went over the details of the car ride that resulted in Shaw’s body being found on the side of Route 193.

Reeves, Shaw and Greeley were traveling back to Bangor from Machias in July 2017 in a rental car when, after Shaw insulted the mother of Reeves’ children, he pulled the car over, struck her in the face and pulled her motionless body out of the car, Elam said.

He then shot her on the side of the road and left her body there, she said.

Shaw’s rental car was found about 11 miles away from Shaw’s body with front-end damage at the intersection of routes 193 and 9.

“The evidence will prove to you that Carine Reeves had a newer, younger version of Sally, one who was compliant and knew not to talk back,” Elam said, referencing Greeley. “Sally was now unnecessary.”

Defense attorney Jack Baldacci countered the state’s point, saying that Reeves still needed Shaw for his drug operation and had no reason to want her dead.

“The defense asks that you focus on the state’s key witness, Quaneysha Greeley, and

consider her motives in making your determination,” he told jurors. “Shortly before Sally Shaw’s death, Quaneysha was not happy with her role in the relationship and she wanted more.”

On Thursday morning, Reeves made his appearance in court wearing a mask, after his motion to appear without one was rejected.

Reeves’ attorney, Stephen Smith of Augusta, argued in the motion that his client should not be required to wear a mask because it is associated with the commission of crimes, especially when worn by a Black man.

But Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart denied Reeves’ motion, saying that everyone’s safety during the pandemic was of the utmost importance.

In accordance with the court’s reopening plan, everyone in the courtroom — the judge, lawyers, jurors and witnesses — wore masks. The courtroom was closed to the public to allow jurors to sit spread out where an audience typically would.

To maintain social distancing, jurors were assigned seats and lawyers sat more than 3 feet apart from each other. Members of the public watched a live video stream of the trial from another room in the courthouse.