Argued: October 11, 2017
McNally, Esq. (orally), Woodman Edmands Danylik Austin Smith
& Jacques, P.A., Biddeford, for appellant Wayne I. Hall
Kathryn L. Slattery, District Attorney, and Susan J. Pope,
Asst. Dist. Atty. (orally), Prosecutorial District #1,
Alfred, for appellee State of Maine
SAUFLEY C.J., [*] and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR,
HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Wayne I. Hall appeals from a judgment of conviction for two
counts of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon (Class
C), 17-A M.R.S. §§ 209, 1252(4) (2016), entered by
the trial court (York County, O'Neil, J.)
following a two-day jury trial. On appeal, Hall argues that
the trial court abused its discretion by allowing testimony
about statements of an unavailable witness, thereby violating
his constitutional right to confront witnesses. Hall also argues
that there was insufficient evidence to support the guilty
verdicts on the two counts of criminal threatening with a
dangerous weapon. We affirm the judgment.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
State, the jury could rationally have found the following
facts beyond a reasonable doubt. See State v.
Morrison, 2016 ME 47, ¶ 2, 135 A.3d 343.
On December 26, 2015, the two men who were the complaining
witnesses in this matter went to Beech Ridge Road in North
Berwick for one of the men to remove his tree stand from his
father-in-law's property. The men parked their pickup
truck and trailer-which had their four wheelers on it- in the
cul-de-sac between the father-in-law's driveway and a
After retrieving the tree stand, the men rode their four
wheelers on the property for a few hours. When they returned
to the cul-de-sac, they saw a green van blocking access to
the ramps for their trailer. One man gestured to the driver
to make contact, at which point the driver opened the door
and stated, "I'm going to fucking kill you."
Hall was the driver of the van.
Hall stepped out of the van and appeared disheveled and
intoxicated. He then got back in the van and began slowly
driving out of the cul-de-sac stating to the men again,
"I'm going to kill you, I'm going to fucking
kill you." As Hall drove away, the men observed a
handgun come out of the driver's side window, and shots
were fired at them. The men were afraid for their lives and
feared that they might be shot. They called 9-1-1, and, after
meeting with a law enforcement officer, began looking for the
van. They then saw Hall stumbling into a residence.
Shortly thereafter, officers of the North Berwick Police
Department arrested Hall at that residence, which was his
mother's home. They then searched for the green van and
the firearm. The officers located the van parked behind a
garage. The driver's side window was still rolled down,
and the officers observed a gun holster and ammunition inside
the van. The officers eventually located the firearm in
another vehicle on the property.
On December 28, 2015, the State filed a four-count complaint
charging Hall with two counts of criminal threatening with a
dangerous weapon (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. §§ 209,
1252(4); and two counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous
weapon (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. §§ 211, 1252(4)
(2016). A York County grand jury returned an indictment
reflecting the same four counts, and adding a fifth count for
criminal OUI (Class D), 29-A M.R.S. §2411(1-A)(A),
A two-day jury trial was held on November 28-29, 2016. Prior
to trial, the State filed a motion in limine seeking the
admission of statements made by Hall's former girlfriend,
who was not available to testify at trial. In an interview,
the former girlfriend had told officers that Hall appeared to
have his .357 Magnum revolver when he left the home, that she
heard about five gun shots shortly after he left, and that
Hall returned home without that gun.The court denied the
State's motion, concluding that the statements would be
"extremely incriminatory" without Hall having the
ability to cross-examine his former girlfriend. The court
warned counsel that questioning law enforcement witnesses as
to why they decided to act in a certain way in their
investigation could open the door to the introduction of the
At trial, during the State's direct examination, one of
the investigating officers testified that the firearm
recovered from the scene contained five spent shell casings
and one loaded shell. He also testified that the bullets
located in the green van were of the same type found in the
firearm. During cross-examination-on an issue not raised on
direct-Hall asked the officer about his
"understanding" of the number of shots fired during
the incident. The following exchange occurred:
Hall: The-the evidence in this case, as I understand it, is
that there were three shots fired. Is that your understanding
Officer: My understanding is it was probably more than three
Hall: Okay. And is that from-is that based upon the fact that
you found four empty casings in the gun?
Officer: It was based upon people that we spoke with.
Hall: Okay. Well, the testimony of [one victim] was that
there were three shots fired and I believe [the other victim]
as well. Is that-did they say something different from that
that you are aware of?
Officer: Not to me, no.
Hall: But you're under the impression that there were