Biddeford man accused of shooting landlord six times will appear in court in 2021

Randal Hennessey is seen via Zoom at a pretrial hearing Thursday afternoon in York County Superior Court. Hennessey is accused of murdering his owner Douglas Michaud on the front porch of their home in September 2021.

A Biddeford man accused of shooting his landlord in September 2021 is preparing for a trial at the end of the month after more than two years of waiting.

Douglas Michaud Jr., who was killed outside his Biddeford home in September 2021, was shown with girlfriend Jamie Wakefield, who witnessed the shooting. Photo courtesy/Terra Johnson

Jury selection in the trial of Randal Hennessey, accused of shooting Douglas Michaud Jr. six times. on the veranda of their apartment, starting on June 24. At a pretrial hearing in York County Superior Court on Tuesday, attorneys argued for more than an hour about what details of the crime the jury will be able to hear.

In December 2021, Hennessey pleaded not guilty to charges of willful and knowing murder and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

During Tuesday’s hearing, his defense attorney George Hess and Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Ackerman debated whether to exclude any evidence of Hennessey’s character, such as “passive-aggressive” terms in the defendant’s description. Ultimately, the judge ruled that the evidence could not be used.

According to court documents, Hennessey shot Michaud five times on the porch of their apartment building. When Michaud’s girlfriend, Jamie Wakefield, tried to help him, Hennessey returned outside and shot Michaud in the head one more time before fleeing on a motorcycle, riding along the railroad tracks until he surrendered to police in New Hampshire.

Wakefield, who was pregnant at the time, told officers several times that “Randy,” referring to Hennessey, shot her boyfriend, court records show. On Tuesday, lawyers also debated whether to tell the jury that Wakefield was pregnant at the time of the shooting.

Hess said this detail would be used as a “big gavel” to evoke emotional responses from the jury. Ackerman argued that this was significant because after the shooting, Wakefield was taken to the hospital to make sure her pregnancy was still progressing normally. During the ambulance ride and on body camera footage, she told authorities that Hennessey was the shooter. The judge agreed with Ackerman.

In 2021, Friends of Michaud told the Press Herald he has a bright future ahead of him at Wakefield. He was excited about the prospect of fatherhood and was preparing to become a firefighter. They said he loved motorcycles, vintage cars and always helped others.

After the shooting, Wakefield told police that Michaud “was in the process of evicting (Hennessey), who is a tenant in the building,” and that according to court records, Hennessey had argued with her when she returned home before the shooting.

Ackerman suggested that Hess would claim the shooting was in self-defense, even though Michaud was shot in the back. Hess, who did not respond to a telephone message Tuesday seeking to discuss the case, gave no indication in court Tuesday what his defense strategy would be.

It took over two years to review the case. In November 2022, Hennessey asked to replace his court-appointed attorney, Tina Nadeau, because he felt she was not representing him as well as she should. Nadeau withdrew from the case and the judge appointed Hess.

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