Bar Harbor man appeals 2019 murder conviction of 19-year-old girl
BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - A Bar Harbor man convicted of raping and killing a former classmate in 2018 had his appeal heard by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court via audio conference Wednesday morning.
Jalique Keene was sentenced to 58 years for the crimes against 19-year-old Mikaela Conley.
A jury found Keene guilty in September.
Keene's attorney, Lawrence Winger, argued the trial should have been moved out of the county.
But state prosecutors say Keene said on record he was pleased with the jury selection.
Winger also argued there wasn't enough evidence to convict Keene of any of the crimes.
At trial, prosecutors showed surveillance video of Keene and Conley arriving together at a school playground in Bar Harbor.
Hours later, Keene is seen dragging Conley's body across that same playground.
Winger told the judge the hours that passed isn't enough to convict.
Prosecutors say there was enough forensic evidence for the jury to make an informed decision.
“I acknowledge there is an enormous pile of evidence. But, that just mislead the jury into thinking that he must have done it when in fact the evidence did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did it because of this huge gap in the evidence. There is no evidence that he was even with her at the time she was killed,” said Winger to the Justices.
One Justice replied, ”So Mr. Winger, the video of him dragging her lifeless body through the grounds of the grammar school alone would not have been sufficient for the jury to infer that he was hiding what he had just done to her?”
Winger said, “Correct.”
Winger's final argument was that Keene's sentence was more than standard for similar cases.
But prosecutors say aggravating factors, the trauma to Conley's friends and family, and Keene's lack of responsibility in court earned him that sentence.
There’s no timetable on when the high court will issue its ruling.
Copyright 2020 WABI. All rights reserved.