Prison manslaughter trial set for October
Rockland — A 34-year-old man accused in the 2009 beating death of a Maine State Prison inmate will face a jury in October.
John E. Thibeault pleaded not guilty to a manslaughter charge at his arraignment in September 2011. He is represented by court-appointed attorneys Jeremy Pratt of Camden and Philip Cohen of Waldoboro.
Thibeault was a prisoner at the Maine State Prison in April 2009, when he was accused of causing the death of fellow inmate Sheldon Weinstein. A Knox County grand jury indicted Thibeault in July 2011.The indictment stated Thibeault acted recklessly or with criminal negligence that caused Weinstein's death. Maine State Police determined the death was a homicide that resulted from a beating.
Thibeault completed a six-year prison term for robbery. He was released on bail in 2011. Thibeault lived in Orono before going to prison, according to court records.
Weinstein's wife, Janet Weinstein of Hartford, Conn., filed a notice of intent to sue the prison in 2009. Her attorney Scott Gardner of Biddeford filed the notice with the state alleging "policy makers within the Maine Department of Corrections were deliberately indifferent to a culture of inmate violence in which jailhouse justice was meted out to inmates like Mr. Weinstein."
For now, this is only notice of intent to sue rather than a lawsuit, and Gardner said the civil case is on hold pending the results of Thibeault's trial.
Weinstein had been incarcerated at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham because he was serving no more than two years. At that center, he fell out of bed and broke his leg and was confined to a wheelchair. Weinstein was transferred to the Warren prison eight days before his death because the medical resources were considered to be superior. Weinstein had type 1 diabetes that required multiple daily insulin injections.
As a result of the death, the prison launched an administrative review while the Attorney General's Office and Maine State Police conducted a criminal investigation..
Prison Corrections Officer Joshua Bailey was fired and Sgt. William Robinson was demoted to a correctional officer as a result of the internal investigation at the Maine State Prison, according to a statement issued in 2009 by the Corrections Department.
Weinstein was serving a sentence for sexual assault against a child.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at email@example.com.
594-4401 ext. 118
Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.
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