Argued: December 12, 2018
A. McNamara, Esq. (orally), Drake Law, LLC, Berwick, for
appellant Philip S. Fournier
T. Mills, Attorney General, Lara M. Nomani, Asst. Atty. Gen.
(orally), and Leanne Robbin, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the
Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine
MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HUMPHREY, and CLIFFORD, JJ.
Philip S. Fournier appeals from a judgment of conviction of
murder, 17-A M.R.S. §201(1)(A) (2017), entered by the
court (Penobscot County, A. Murray, J.) after an
eleven-day jury-waived trial. Fournier challenges (1) the
court's method of considering evidence of alternative
suspects, (2) the court's exclusion of a detective's
opinion testimony, (3) the court's finding that Fournier
waived his religious privilege, and (4) the court's
factual findings relating to Fournier's whereabouts from
8:00 p.m. until 8:45 p.m. on the day of the
murder. We affirm.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
State, the trial record supports the following facts, which
were found by the court in its judgment dated February 22,
2018. See State v. Jeskey, 2016 ME 134, ¶ 2,
146 A.3d 127. Because Fournier did not request findings of
fact pursuant to M.R.U. Crim. P. 23(c), we will also infer
that the trial court found all of the facts necessary to
support its judgment, to the extent that those assumed facts
are supported by competent record evidence. See State v.
Fox, 2017 ME 52, ¶ 12, 157A.3d778.
In the early evening of August 8, 1980, a group of teenagers
and young adults gathered at Schenck High School in East
Millinocket. Among the group that gathered at the high school
that evening was nineteen-year-old Fournier. During the same
evening, the sixteen-year-old victim left her home in East
Millinocket to go for a jog. At approximately 7:55 p.m.,
three people saw the victim heading down Orchard Street. The
same three individuals saw the victim turn off Orchard Street
and proceed down a dirt road behind the first base dugout of
a little league field; this was the last time that anyone
reported seeing the victim alive.
At some point between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., Fournier was seen
by several people with a person named Leroy; they were
walking away from the high school toward the little league
field. One individual saw Fournier and Leroy drinking whiskey
out of a bottle on their way to the field.
At approximately 8:15 p.m., Leroy was seen back at the high
school pacing, talking to himself, and exhibiting other
strange behaviors. Fournier was not seen again until
approximately 8:45 p.m., when an East Millinocket police
officer saw Fournier with Leroy. Fournier was also seen by
another individual at around 9:00 p.m. He was running on the
sidewalk by the high school and carrying a bottle of whiskey;
another person was seen running about eight to ten feet
behind him. In the early morning of August 9, 1980, Fournier
stole an oil truck and crashed it into another vehicle. After
the crash, Fournier was found unconscious; he had suffered
severe head trauma and was in a coma for a period of time.
When the victim did not return home on the evening of August
8, 1980, her mother made phone calls and drove around East
Millinocket looking for her. August 8, 1980, was a hot summer
evening, and heavy thunderstorms moving through East
Millinocket made the victim's mother's search
difficult. The following day, a group of people, including a
teenager named Peter, joined in the search for the victim.
The search efforts on Saturday, August 9, 1980, were
unsuccessful, and the group discontinued the search at night
and made plans to continue the search early the next morning.
In the early morning of Sunday, August 10, 1980, Peter began
searching for the victim alone and, at approximately 6:00
a.m., he found the victim's body on the pole line behind
the soccer and little league field. East Millinocket and
Maine State Police responded to the scene and quickly
discovered that the victim had a large jagged wound on the
back of her head. A large rock with ceramic debris on top of
it was located next to the victim's head, and it was
later determined that the ceramic debris came from an
A police dog employed at the scene assisted investigators in
finding several articles of the victim's clothing and a
partially broken insulator on the ground. The next day, the
police dog was brought back to the scene and it again alerted
to the partially broken insulator, which at that time was
collected by investigators as the potential murder weapon. In