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Estate of Pratt v. Davis

Superior Court of Maine, Aroostook

September 6, 2017

ESTATE OF HEIDI LYN PRATT Plaintiff
v.
MATTHEW DAVIS, Defendant

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW M.R.CIV.P. 52

          E. Allen Hunter Active Retired Justice, Superior Court

         On July 11, 2017, the court conducted a hearing on damages in connection with the above referenced. The court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         Findings of Fact

         1. On December 22, 2016, Matthew Davis (10/29/1980) was found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" by a jury of 10 criminal counts in docket number HOUSC-CR-13-137. These charges included the crimes of Murder of Heidi Lyn Pratt and the crime of Arson of Heidi Lyn Pratt's residence located at 331 Oakfield-Smyrna Road, Oakfield, MB.

         2. In finding Matthew Davis guilty, the jury found that he had "intentionally or knowingly" caused the death of Heidi Lyn Pratt. [1]

         3. On February 10, 2017, Matthew Davis was sentenced to life in prison in HOUSC-CR-13-137, 4. The crime for which Matthew Davis was convicted by jury occurred on or about September 23, 2013, in Oakfield, ME, 5. On September 23, 2013, Heidi Lyn Pratt was at her home located at 331 Oakfield-Smyrna Road in Oakfield, ME.

          6. In the early morning hours, Matthew Davis entered Heidi Pratt's residence with a firearm.

         7. While in the residence at 331 Oakfield-Smyrna Road, Matthew Davis shot and killed Heidi Pratt and Michael Kitchen. At some point he also set the house on fire.

         8. Heidi Pratt's body was found in the entry hallway of her home. At defendant's trial for murder in HOUSC-CR-13-137, evidence was presented that prior to being shot, Heidi Pratt had left her bedroom where she was sleeping and went to the entry hallway to investigate the noise created by Matthew Davis's arrival at the home.

         9. The coroner's report, authored by Dr. Mark Flomenbaum, the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maine, determined that Heidi Pratt's cause of death to be "Exsanguination due to a gunshot wound."

         10. Dr. Flomenbaum further testified to the details of Heidi Pratt's death at Matthew Davis's criminal trial on Wednesday, December 7, 2013. Dr. Flomenbaum testified that Heidi Pratt suffered exsanguination when a high-caliber bullet pierced her carotid artery.

         11. Exsanguination is defined by Merriam Webster as "the action or process of draining or losing blood." [2]

         12. Dr. Flomenbaum testified that a large pool of blood was found underneath Heidi Pratt's body. The large pool of blood indicates that Heidi Pratt was alive, and her heart continued to pump blood throughout her body - including to and ultimately out the injured portion of her carotid artery.

         13. It is unclear to the court whether the period of time from the infliction of the gunshot wound to the time when Heidi Pratt ultimately succumbed to her injuries represents a period of "conscious suffering."

         14. On September 16, 2015, the Estate of Heidi Lyn Pratt filed a two-count complaint with the Houlton Superior Court.

          15. This complaint alleged in Count 1 the complaint of "Wrongful Death M.R.S. A. 18-A §2-804(b). Count 2 of the complaint alleged "Death Following Conscious Suffering" M.R.S.A. 18-A §2-804(c).

         16. In each of count 1 and count 2, the Plaintiff sought damages in the amount of $500, 000 for the loss of Comfort, Society, and Companionship, $250, 000 for punitive damages, and its costs for professional services, costs for funeral expenses, and whatever other relief the court deemed just and necessary.

         17. Service of the complaint and summons was made on the defendant on September 28, 2015. This summons set forth the standard admonition in bold letters that the Defendant would need to file a written answer within 20 days ...


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