Defense attorney Jeff Toothaker confers with defendant Jalique Keene, 21, before Keene's arraignment on murder and gross sexual assault indictments in Hancock County Superior Court Wednesday. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

Bar Harbor man arraigned on murder charge

ELLSWORTH — A Bar Harbor man pleaded not guilty to charges of gross sexual assault and murder in the June death of a young Bar Harbor woman during his arraignment Wednesday in Hancock County Superior Court.

Jalique Keene, 21, accused of the murder of Mikaela Conley, 19, appeared before Justice Robert Murray and a packed courtroom.

After the arraignment, Murray laid out deadlines for procedural matters and said he anticipated the case going to trial at the end of May 2019.

The next status conference will be held Nov. 30 at 1:30 p.m., the judge said.

The state is to provide non-laboratory-related discovery or case materials to the defense by Oct. 5. Murray ordered that any laboratory testing-related discovery be provided to the defense “no later than Dec. 28.”

A Hancock County grand jury indicted Keene on the two charges Aug. 9.

Ellsworth attorneys Jeff Toothaker and Dawn Corbett represent Keene. The pair had been scheduled to meet with Assistant Attorney General John Alsop for a status conference in the case next week, Thursday, Sept. 13.

However, Murray, who has been specially assigned to the case by Maine Superior Court Chief Justice Roland A. Cole, changed the arraignment and conference to Sept. 5.

At a brief first court appearance on June 6, the court agreed that Keene would continue to be held without bail.

Murray asked the defense attorneys after the arraignment if they wanted to be heard on bail.

“No,” Toothaker replied.

“Any other issues?” Murray asked.

Alsop replied “no.”

“The defendant is remanded to the custody of the Hancock County Sheriff pending the next hearing,” Murray said.

Maine State Police Detective Tom Pickering was also at the hearing.

Pickering arrested Keene on June 4.

Conley’s body was found on a wooded hillside near the intersection of Route 3 and West Street in Bar Harbor on June 2.

On the afternoon of May 31, Conley drove to Boston to pick up Keene and another person at the airport, according to an affidavit filed by Pickering.

They returned to Bar Harbor and “he stayed with her into the early morning hours at her home and in the vicinity,” the detective stated.

Conley had been missing since the early morning hours of June 1, when she was last seen at home by her mother.

Pickering’s affidavit, initially sealed by the court, was released June 15. The document included findings by the State Medical Examiner’s Office that Conley died of “blunt force trauma and strangulation.”

The detective described what he had seen in footage from the security cameras at Conners Emerson School, whose playground abuts the wooded area where the body was found.

“I … observed at 3:36 a.m. a male appearing to be Jalique appear at [the side of a person appearing to be Conley] and after some sort of interaction, he is seen picking her up over his shoulder and walking off with her as she is kicking with her feet,” Pickering stated.

In footage from the same camera, Keene reappears around 7 a.m., dragging an apparently lifeless body toward the area where the body was later found, according to the affidavit.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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