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Police report details night of Vinalhaven stabbing death

By Stephen Betts | Jul 29, 2020

Vinalhaven — The man stabbed to death June 14 on Vinalhaven confronted a couple at their home, yelling at them to "come out here, let's finish it."

Moments later, 28-year-old Roger Feltis was fatally stabbed.

Those details are included in a search warrant affidavit filed in the Knox County court by Maine State Police to search the home and any vehicles of Dorian Ames, 27, and Briannah Ames, 29. The affidavit was sealed during the investigation, but was unsealed at the request of the Courier-Gazette, since the case is a closed one.

The Maine Attorney General's Office presented the case to a Knox County grand jury during the week of July 9 and jurors issued two "no bills," which means a majority of jurors did not find probable cause to believe the pair committed a crime.

The Maine Medical Examiner's Office determined that Feltis died from injuries inflicted by a knife.

The affidavit stated that the Knox County Sheriff's Office received a call from a woman at 9:44 p.m. June 14, saying a man was hit by an axe. The woman said he was bleeding very badly and she was driving the man to the medical center.

The department then received several 911 calls, requesting an ambulance for 6 Roberts Cemetery Road from a woman who said she was stabbed and was bleeding.

Knox County Sheriff Deputy Daniel Landers responded and determined that Feltis had died. The deputy notified the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit and asked for assistance.

Maine State Police Detective Chris Crawford went to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport and talked with Briannah Ames, 29, who was taken to the mainland hospital by a LifeFlight helicopter.

According to the affidavit, Briannah Ames told the detective that she was injured by Feltis. She told the state police investigator that she, her husband and their son returned to their Vinalhaven home after being away for a few days. She said they discovered their front door was kicked in.

She said she put their child to bed and took a shower, while her husband went out riding with a friend. Briannah Ames said she then heard her husband come home, yelling that there was someone outside in a RAV4-style vehicle trying to start trouble, and he didn't know who it was. Briannah Ames said she didn't know if the vehicle would be coming back, because Dorian Ames hit the vehicle with a hatchet.

Briannah said she continued showering, then heard her husband yelling for someone to get out of their house. She went to the door off the kitchen and saw Feltis in the house, challenging her husband to a fight, according to the affidavit. Her husband still had the hatchet and was yelling at Feltis to get out of the house and that he did not know who Feltis was.

Briannah Ames said she approached Feltis and the two began to fight. She then noticed she suffered a bad cut on her fingers. The woman told police that during the struggle, she made her way further into the kitchen and got a kitchen knife. The struggle continued both in the kitchen and on the porch, according to the affidavit.

She said she did not know if she managed to cut Feltis or whether her husband was able to hit him with the hatchet. She said the last time she saw Feltis, he was running away from the house.

Briannah Ames said she never saw Feltis with a weapon.

She received several stitches for a deep cut to three fingers on her left hand and a couple stitches to her upper left thigh.

State Police Detective Jason Andrews interviewed Dorian Ames June 15 and he told substantially the same version of events as his wife, according to the affidavit. Dorian Ames denied ever swinging or striking Feltis with the axe.

Detective Andrews said Feltis suffered two large wounds to his upper chest and shoulder.

The affidavit also states that State Police Detective Mark Ferreira interviewed Feltis' girlfriend, Jeannie Candage, shortly before 2:30 a.m. June 15.

Candage said she and Feltis were drinking at the Sand Bar, and that Feltis was upset because he believed the Ameses were responsible for cutting his brake lines.

Feltis was screaming and yelling for her to bring him to the Ameses' residence on Roberts Cemetery Road. When they got to the home, Feltis got out of the vehicle and said "Come out here, let's finish this."

Candage told police that Briannah Ames came out of the house, met Feltis and the two began swinging at each other on the porch. Candage then said Dorian Ames came out on the porch with an axe and "ultimately swung once or twice, striking Roger."

Feltis both worked as a sternman on a lobster boat and was a commercial clammer. He had a young daughter. He moved to Vinalhaven a few months earlier from Waldoboro.

Because no one was charged, the stabbing death generated tension on the island. At a town meeting last July 22 on Vinalhaven, about 20 people voted to reject money to pay for continued police services from the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

The town plans to meet to discuss future police services.

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