Franklin Countys First News

Jay man pleads not guilty to murder

James Sweeney (Photo courtesy of Franklin County Detention Center)

FARMINGTON - A man accused of murdering a Jay woman with a baseball bat pleaded not guilty in Franklin County Superior Court Tuesday, with a bail hearing postponed until later this fall.

James “Ted” Sweeney, 57 of Jay, entered his plea via an American Sign Language interpreter, pleading not guilty to one count of Intentional or Knowing Murder. Sweeney was indicted by the Franklin County Grand Jury on Aug. 23.

Sweeney has been in custody since he arrived at the Androscoggin County Jail on the morning of July 11, reportedly arriving with a note that read: “I'm going to jail cause I hurt my girlfriend. I live at 5 Jewel [sic] St Jay my name is James e Sweeney. Please check Wendy Douglas [sic] at 5 Jewell st jay I did wrong."

Officers forced their way into the home and discovered the resident, Douglass, age 51, deceased on a bed, inside a room behind a closed door, with a note taped under the handle. That note reportedly read: "Wendy I love you you ruin my love I already know you cheat on me you lie lie lie a lot. 'Ted.'"

Police later learned that Ted was a nickname used by Sweeney. Police were eventually informed that Douglass and Sweeney were in relationship and that relationship had ended a week earlier, but the two had continued to live in the same house.

Police also say they discovered a wooden baseball bat beneath the base of the staircase leading to the second floor. That bat had red/brown staining, police reported in the arrest affidavit, with that stain later testing positive for blood.

Sweeney was arrested on July 11. An autopsy conducted by the State Medical Examiner's Office on July 12 indicated that the cause of Douglass' death was “blunt force trauma” to the head and ruled the death a homicide.

Tuesday, Justice William Stokes entered Sweeney's not guilty plea into the record and indicated that a bail hearing would be postponed until later this fall, by the agreement of the state and the defense. Sweeney will remain in jail with no bail until that hearing.

Stokes noted that a murder conviction carried a sentence of 30 years to life, with a life sentence in Maine including no possibility of probation or parole.

The case will likely proceed to trial in the summer of 2018 at the earliest.

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1 Responses »

  1. "not guilty to one count of Intentional or Knowing Murder.' Did the baseball bat beat Wendy Douglas to death all by itself?