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Daniel Fortune sits in Kennebec County Superior Court during his sentencing hearing in June 2010 in Augusta.

Posted Oct. 12, 2011, at 5:57 p.m.

LISBON, Maine — Daniel Fortune is the first person in Maine sentenced to life in prison for attacking people who did not succumb to their injuries.

He was convicted by a jury of maiming a Pittston father and daughter in a May 27, 2008, home invasion and machete attack considered to be one of the most heinous crimes in the state’s history.

[Editor’s note: Daniel’s co-conspiritor and foster-brother, Leo Hylton was  responsible for the actual machete attack; Daniel did not participate.  His foster-brother agreed to testify against Daniel for a better deal.  Daniel, the older participant, who had known his victims previously,  and who refused to “rat” was considered the leader, and for what ever reason has paid this price. – Snax]

The legal questions the court will consider include whether there was sufficient evidence for the jury to conclude that premeditation and extreme cruelty were proven on the aggravated attempted murder count. Justices also will review for the first time whether a judge can impose a life sentence when a victim did not die.

On June 24, 2010, Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Fortune, now 23, of Augusta in Kennebec County Superior Court to two concurrent life sentences,  according to a previously published report. He was convicted by a jury on May 14, 2010, after a trial held at Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan.

[Editor’s note: actual murderers, in the State of Maine get off easier than that.  In Maine someone convicted of Manslaughter will serve from 1–20 years, for Felony Murder (killing someone while in the process of committing another crime) they’ll serve from 1-30 years and for plain old Murder, it’s Life without parole or no less than 25 years.  Daniel didn’t kill, or even attact anyone, and again, he was given two life sentences.  I guess there are different sentencing guidelines in Maine when black go after well-connected and monied white politicians. – Snax

Fortune’s roommate and foster brother Leo R. Hylton, now 21, participated in the machete attack that left William Guerrette Jr. and Nicole Guerrette, then 10, close to death and permanently injured.

The attack on the Guerrette family came six months after Fortune stole a safe from the Guerrette home containing $111,000 worth of property, including $30,000 in cash, according to previously published reports. Fortune and Hylton, according to briefs filed in the appeal, went to the home armed with a machete and a long knife to keep William Guerrette from testifying against Fortune.

[Another Editor’s note: Fortune went to the Guerette’s home to collect drug money owed to Leo Hylton, not to try and silence anybody. – Snax]

Both men were charged with aggravated attempted murder, attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and conspiracy to commit robbery. Hylton, who testified against Fortune, pleaded guilty to all but the aggravated attempted murder charge.

Hylton was sentenced by Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills on Feb. 26, 2010, in Kennebec County Superior Court to 90 years in prison with all but 50 suspended. [Editor’s note: pretty sweet deal, Leo. – Snax.]

Fortune’s attorney Arnold Clark of Waterville said Wednesday that he expects the justices will ask quite a few questions about the life sentences imposed.

“Just recently there have been sentencings in a couple of double homicide cases in Maine where life sentences were not imposed,” said Clark, who was not Fortune’s trial attorney. “In this case, nobody died. That’s a big difference legally. Of course, there is continuing trauma that goes along with surviving but that’s a different thing than murder in the eyes of the law.”

 

 

Clark argued in his brief that Murphy gave “insufficient weight” to Fortune’s age, which judges are obligated to take into consideration when fashioning a sentence. Fortune was 22 when he was sentenced and 20 at the time of offense.

“Undoubtedly, the seriousness of the impact of a life sentence on an offender is inversely related to the age of the offender,” Clark wrote. “A life sentence is the ‘harshest penalty’ available in the State of Maine. The impact a life sentence imposes on a 22-year-old offender is significantly more serious than the impact of a life sentence imposed on a 62-year-old.”

Clark argued in his brief that Murphy should have imposed a period of imprisonment and a period of probation as her colleague did in Hylton’s case.

“The court’s failure to mitigate the maximum sentence downward to a term of years constitutes an abuse of discretion.”

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