A Superior Court judge in Bangor on Thursday found a Corinna father guilty of crimes connected with the fentanyl overdose of his 11-month-old daughter last year, but stopped short of concluding that the drug was used as a weapon as the prosecution had argued.
Zachary Borg, 28, was found guilty of aggravated assault with serious bodily injury, a Class B crime, as well as domestic violence assault, domestic violence reckless conduct and endangering the welfare of a child, all Class D crimes.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson found Borg not guilty of aggravated furnishing of scheduled drugs to a minor, a Class B crime, and not guilty of domestic violence assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, both Class C crimes.
Anderson presided over Borg’s jury-waived trial in late September.
Borg’s sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Nov. 21. He remained Thursday at the Penobscot County Jail where he has been since his arrest 18 months ago.
Anderson rejected the idea put forward by Chelsea Lynds, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, that an illegal drug could be used as a weapon.
He said Thursday that Borg created the circumstances in which his daughter could ingest the drugs by leaving residue on a coffee table and on a pink teddy bear in the child’s crib but did not directly give it to the girl. Borg allowed people to use drugs in the home the day before the girl overdosed. Anderson said the prosecution had not shown that the drug was used as a weapon.
Harris Mattson of Bangor, Borg’s attorney, said the judge’s decision would be appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court because there was no evidence that Borg himself caused harm to his daughter.
“Although I have great respect for Justice Anderson’s perspective on criminal law, I do not agree with the court’s analysis on the question of causation,” he said. “Mr. Borg cannot be guilty of assault unless his conduct was sufficient to produce the harm, not as a general proposition, but in terms of the actual events of the case.”
The girl’s mother, Taezja DiPietro, 24, of Corinna, is facing the same charges as Borg. She did not testify against him and may be tried at a later date if she is not offered a plea deal by the prosecutor. She remains free on bail.
The parents were arrested after the dispatch center in Bangor received a call at about 9:17 a.m. on June 26, 2021, reporting the child was in medical distress, according to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office. The child was in cardiac arrest when first responders arrived.
She was taken to Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield, where she was successfully resuscitated and stabilized, then flown by LifeFlight to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Borg suggested to medical personnel that they try using naloxone to revive her, and it worked immediately.
Borg faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 on the most serious charge of aggravated drug furnishing.