Briefs: April 25, 2018
Richard L. Hartley, Esq., Law Office of Richard L. Hartley,
P.C., Bangor, for appellant Richard T. Matthews
Christopher Almy, District Attorney, Mark A. Rucci, Asst.
Dist. Atty., and Katelynn Ronan, Stud. Atty., Prosecutorial
District V, Bangor, for appellee State of Maine
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Richard T. Matthews Jr., a mixed martial arts fighter who
repeatedly punched the victim in the head, both before and
after rendering him unconscious, appeals from a judgment of
conviction entered by the trial court (Penobscot County,
Anderson, J.) after a jury found him guilty of
aggravated assault (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 208(1)(C)
(2017). He argues that there was insufficient evidence
presented at trial upon which the jury could have found him
guilty and found his self-defense claim disproven beyond a
reasonable doubt. We affirm the judgment.
When there is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence
to support a jury's verdict, we must review the evidence
in the light most favorable to the State. See State v.
Hall, 2017 ME 210, ¶ 29, 172 A.3d 467. On this
record, the jury rationally could have found the following
facts beyond a reasonable doubt.
On November 28, 2015, the fifty-six-year-old victim went to
Seasons, a restaurant and lounge located in Bangor, to have a
beer at the bar. The bartender observed that he "was
quietly drinking" and that he "didn't talk a
lot." Around the same time, forty-five-year-old Matthews
and his wife entered Seasons to meet with some friends.
At some point in the evening, the victim moved closer to and
made eye contact with persons in Matthews's party who
were sitting at the bar approximately twelve to fifteen feet
away. Matthews became upset and told the bartender that the
victim was staring. The bartender told the victim that he had
upset Matthews and suggested that he stop staring.
Approximately five to six minutes later, at 9:52 p.m., the
victim paid his tab and left. After leaving Seasons, the
victim walked across the street to another bar known as the
Pour House. He ordered a beer and went outside to smoke.
At 10:46 p.m., Matthews cashed out his tab at Seasons and
went to the Pour House. After the victim finished smoking and
went back inside, Matthews grabbed the victim and led him to
the door where the bouncer was standing. The bouncer told
Matthews to remove his hands from the victim and asked him
what was happening. Without providing a reason, Matthews told
the bouncer that the victim needed to leave. The victim
denied that there was a problem and briefly waited near the
bouncer before returning to the bar area.
A few minutes later, the bouncer saw the victim leave the
Pour House and cross the street. As the victim was crossing
the street, Matthews went "running through the
doors." The bouncer tried to grab Matthews but lost his
grip. He saw Matthews run across the street, spin the victim
around, and punch the victim in the face. The bouncer
testified that, when Matthews spun the victim around, the
victim "didn't do anything." Matthews continued
to punch the victim in the face until he fell to the ground.
The bouncer observed Matthews sit on top of the victim and
punch him in the face approximately ten times. While
observing Matthews attack the victim, the bouncer directed
someone inside the bar to call 9-1-1.
A patron of the Pour House, who was walking back from a
nearby parking lot, came upon Matthews punching the victim
while on top of him. From five or six feet away, she saw
Matthews punch the victim in the face "over and over
again, " approximately eight to ten times. She stated
that the victim appeared to be unconscious because he was
lying on the ground and he "wasn't moving at
all" and "wasn't defending himself." After
the patron and the bouncer yelled at Matthews to stop,
Matthews stood up and returned to the Pour House.
When officers of the Bangor Police Department arrived, the
victim was still lying on the ground. One of the responding
officers who had known the victim since the officer was five