ELLSWORTH — A Canaan man was acquitted of theft by misapplication of property after a morning long trial Monday.
The state had charged Brett Davis after he sold a truck for a Sullivan man but did not give him the proceeds of the sale that were owed.
Some months after the transaction, the Sullivan man died.
Skowhegan attorney John Alsop represents Davis.
“Frankly, if this guy hadn’t died he and Brett would have worked something out and this never would have happened,” Alsop said.
“The defendant’s position in this case is that the entire case constitutes a failed business transaction, caused by serious financial setbacks endured by the defendant in this troubled economy,” Alsop stated in court records. “The state has the burden of proving that the defendant failed to make payment and dealt with the property as his own. The defendant has always acknowledged his debt to the alleged victim or his estate.”
Alsop said that while his client was trying to sort out a financial mess after the Sullivan man died, an estate attorney got involved and called the district attorney to report what could be a possible theft over the truck proceeds. The investigation was turned over to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and Davis was charged with a theft, he said.
“Our position all along is it’s a civil matter,” because to prove a theft such as this is similar to proving an embezzlement, Alsop said. “You have to show he was custodian of a fund of money, which he was taking care of for [the victim] and he converted it for his own use. That was not in fact the case.”