Murder suspect being held without bail

CALAIS — The man accused of fatally shooting three people and injuring a fourth last week is being held without bail in the Washington County Jail.

Thomas Bonfanti, 63, of Northfield, who was represented by attorney Jeffrey Silverstein, made his first court appearance Feb. 5 following the Feb. 3 shooting rampage. Standing in the Calais courtroom wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and shackles, he told Judge David Mitchell he understood the charges against him — three counts of intentional or knowing murder and one count of elevated aggravated assault.

The murder charges are connected with the deaths of Shawn Curry, 57, of Machias; Samuel Powers, 33, of Jonesboro; and Jennifer Bryant Flynn, 49, of Machias. The charges carry a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison with the maximum being life. The aggravated assault charge, connected with the shooting of Regina Long, 49, of Machias, who is still alive, carries a penalty of up to 30 years.

During the court appearance, Silverstein requested that the affidavit of probable cause be sealed.

“It’s been my experience in these small communities that once the details of the affidavit are published by the media or other accounts, they become widely distributed,” Silverstein said after the court appearance. Having those details circulated will make it more difficult to find an impartial grand jury to consider possible indictment.

The earliest the case could come before a grand jury would be in March.

After the hearing, Silverstein said Bonfanti knew all the victims and the victims knew each other. But, he said, he would need more time to “unravel” all the details of the case.

Assistant District Attorney Leanne Zainea declined to comment.

Johanna S. Billings

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Johanna S. Billings covers eastern Hancock County and western Washington County. An avid photographer, she lives in Steuben with her husband and several cats. She welcomes tips and story ideas. Email her at [email protected]

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