Argued: June 9, 2016
Fairfield, Esq., Fairfield & Associates, P.A., Lyman, for
appellant Derek S. Poulin
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Donald W. Macomber, Asst.
Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for
appellee State of Maine
Valerie A. Randall, Esq., Fairfield & Associates, P.A.,
Portland, for appellant Derek Poulin
W. Macomber, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee State of Maine
SAUFLEY, C.J., AND ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR,
HJELM, AND HUMPHREY, JJ.
Derek S. Poulin appeals from a judgment of conviction for
murder, 17-A M.R.S. § 201(1)(A), (B) (2015), and arson
(Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 802(1)(A) (2015), entered by
the Unified Criminal Docket (York County, O'Neil,
J.) after a jury trial.
The issues in this case arise from the trial court's
exclusion of certain evidence-GPS data and handwritten
notes-from the State's case-in-chief because of discovery
violations or hearsay problems. However, the court indicated
that the excluded evidence would or might be available for
use as impeachment evidence should the defense offer evidence
contrary to the facts indicated by the excluded evidence. On
appeal, Poulin argues that his constitutionally guaranteed
right to a fair trial was violated because these evidentiary
rulings effectively prevented him from presenting evidence
contrary to the facts indicated in the excluded evidence.
Because the rulings excluding evidence from use in the
State's case-in-chief reflected no abuse of the trial
court's discretion and did not deprive Poulin of a fair
trial, we affirm.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
State, the following facts are supported by the trial record.
See State v. Reed, 2013 ME 5, ¶ 9, 58 A.3d
1130. In the afternoon of October 23, 2012, the body of the
victim, Poulin's paternal grandmother, was discovered in
her home in Old Orchard Beach. She had been struck in the
head with blunt objects and stabbed many times in the head,
neck, and torso, suffering a total of seventy-two blunt-force
and sharp-force injuries. The victim's home had been set
Before her death, the victim had shared her home with Poulin
and Poulin's father. Poulin's father and grandmother
both worked, but Poulin was unemployed. Around October 18,
2012, the victim had a conversation with a relative about how
she needed to show Poulin some "tough love" and
tell him to move out. The victim stated that she had tried to
do that, but that she would have to try again.
Just after 7:00 a.m. on October 23, 2012, Poulin's father
arrived at work in Portland. Around 11:30 a.m., the victim
spoke to a relative on the phone and told him that she was
getting ready for work. She asked the relative to call her
that afternoon after he finished an appointment. The relative
called the victim's phone repeatedly after about 1:00
p.m., but she did not answer.
At approximately 1:40 p.m., a woman who lived directly across
the street from the victim's house noticed that the smoke
detector was sounding in the victim's home. When, about
thirty minutes later, the neighbor observed that the alarm
was still sounding, she approached the house, saw that the
window blinds were melting, saw smoke in the house, and
Firefighters arrived, extinguished the fires in the house,
and discovered the victim's body on the floor of the
downstairs bedroom. When Poulin's father returned home
from work around 4:20 p.m., investigators from the Fire
Marshal's Office stopped him from entering the home.
Poulin's father was "visibly shaken" upon
learning that his mother had died. While Poulin's father
was with one of the investigators, around 4:23 p.m., he
received a call from Poulin. Poulin's father told Poulin
about the fire. The investigator observed that Poulin's
father became angry during the call.
At 5:33 p.m., an hour and ten minutes after the phone call,
Poulin arrived at the house. He and his father agreed to be
interviewed at the police station, and the two of them drove
there together in Poulin's car. At the police station,
they were interviewed separately. Poulin stated that he had
left his grandmother's house by 11:30 that morning and
had gone to the Portland office of the Bureau of Motor
Vehicles (BMV) to renew his driver's license, then to his
mother's apartment in Portland, where no one was home,
and then to his dentist's office around 1:00 p.m. to make
an appointment to have dental work done. He told the police
that he then returned to his mother's apartment, where he
stayed until he called his father to get dental insurance
information. Poulin told the police that his mother and
siblings were home when he arrived at his mother's home
the second time. He told the police that he
"rushed" to his grandmother's house after the
phone call. When asked why it took him so long to get to the
house, he stated, "Five o'clock traffic, man."
Poulin returned to his mother's apartment after the
In the evening of October 23, after a deputy medical examiner
noted that the victim had cuts and lacerations on her neck
and shoulders and saw indications that she had died before
the fire was set, law enforcement officers went to
Poulin's mother's house. They asked Poulin for the
clothing he had been wearing that day, and he gave them a
white t-shirt, a pair of white pants, and a pair of boots.
Poulin stated that those were the clothes ...