Sex-party gunman appeals case over judge’s instructions to jury


Jurors were not informed of the proper standard of proof, says the shooter, who claims he thought a gun was unloaded.

Maine’s highest court heard an appeal Thursday that centered on jury instructions in the trial of a Skowhegan farmer who killed another man during sex play at a South Portland home in 2009.


Malcolm Bruce Lavallee-Davidson was convicted of manslaughter last year for fatally shooting 50-year-old Fred Wilson during a drug-fueled sex party in the basement of Wilson’s home. Davidson had put a gun he thought was unloaded to Wilson’s head as part of their sex games. But the second time he pulled the trigger, the gun fired.


Davidson is serving a 10-year prison sentence. Davidson has also gone by the name Bruce Lavallee-Davidson.


Verne Paradie Jr., Davidson’s attorney, argued before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that the trial jury should have been told that the prosecution needed to meet a standard of beyond reasonable doubt in challenging Davidson’s assertion that he didn’t think the gun was loaded.The judge’s failure, Paradie argued, gave the jury an incorrect understanding about the burden of proof.


“We have to presume that the jury misunderstood what the burden of proof was and who the burden of proof is on,” Paradie told the justices.


But Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber argued that.. read the full story

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