A jury has been picked in the homicide trial of Thomas Bonfanti, a Northfield man accused of killing three people in Machias and Jonesboro in February 2020.
Testimony in the trial is expected to begin Wednesday morning at the Waldo Judicial Center in Belfast. The trial was moved from Washington County, where the shootings took place, because of concerns that pre-trial publicity could make it difficult to pick a jury.
Bonfanti, 65, is accused of shooting four people, killing three of them, at three different houses in Machias and Jonesboro on the morning of Feb. 3, 2020. He was arrested at the American Legion Hall in Machias later that morning without resistance.
Killed in the shootings were Jennifer Bryant Flynn, 49, of Machias; Samuel Powers, 33, of Jonesboro; and Shawn Currey, 57, of Machias, all of whom were shot at their homes. Bonfanti also is charged with one count of aggravated attempted murder and one count of elevated aggravated assault in the shooting of Regina Hall Long, 49, who shared a home with Currey and was shot the same morning. Long survived her injuries.
When he was arrested, Bonfanti told police how many people had been shot, but then invoked his Miranda rights, according to a police affidavit. The court document does not describe any motive or sequence of events that led to the shootings.
On Tuesday morning, prospective jurors answered questions for Justice Bruce Mallonee, who is presiding over the trial, about whether they had any personal connections to people who work in law enforcement. After about two hours of questioning, 15 people — 10 men and 5 women — were selected to serve on the jury, including three alternates, each of whom will be available to participate in jury deliberations if a juror has to drop out of the proceedings.
Jurors won’t know who the three alternates are until just before jury deliberations begin. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.
Ellsworth lawyers Jeffrey Toothaker and Rose Chong are representing Bonfanti at the trial. The case is being prosecuted by Leane Zainea and Robert “Bud” Ellis of the state attorney general’s office.
Homicides with three or more victims are rare in Maine. There have been only five cases with that many homicide victims in the state since 2000.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number and breakdown of jurors. It’s 15 jurors — 10 men and 5 women — which includes three alternates.