AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday overturned the murder conviction of a Limington man serving 38 years in prison.
Bruce Akers was convicted last year of the June 2016 murder of his neighbor, 55-year-old Douglas Flint, in Limington. Prosecutors said he used a machete to strike Flint more than a dozen times in the neck.
Akers appealed the conviction, arguing the court wrongly denied his motion to suppress physical evidence and statements.
The law court heard the appeal in June and issued its ruling Tuesday.
The court said the three officers that arrived at Akers' property in the middle of the night and arrested him conducted an unlawful and unreasonable search, and that the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Akers' statements to police were voluntary.
"Finally, it is clear that the court’s errors in denying Akers’s motion to suppress were not harmless given that the search warrant was granted in part on Akers’s statements, which were obtained as a result of the officers’ illegal searches and were made involuntarily, and that those statements were presented to the jury," the decision states.
At the time of his appeal, the office of the Maine attorney general said only two murder convictions of at least 100 had been vacated since 2000.
During his trial, Akers' attorney argued that he struggled with mental health issues and was in an abnormal state of mind at the time of the murder.