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Murder trial begins for man accused of killing friend in Gardiner in 2020

Dylan Ketcham is accused of killing Jordan Johnson and seriously injuring Caleb Trudeau in Gardiner in January 2020.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The trial for a man accused of killing a friend and seriously injuring another began for the second time in Augusta on Wednesday. 

Dylan Ketcham is facing charges of murder, attempted murder, and elevated assault in connection with an incident in January 2020 in Gardiner. 

According to police, Ketcham shot 22-year-old Jordan Johnson, who died days later, and attacked Caleb Trudeau with a large knife.

Ketchum was supposed to face trial last fall, but a mistrial was declared. According to the Kennebec Journal, jurors were shown a video from the body cameras of Gardiner police with both victims. 

Ketcham's current trial, for the same charges, will also be a jury trial, taking place in Kennebec County.

"Jordan and Dylan did not know when they went unarmed to a fistfight with Dylan Ketcham that for days Ketcham had secretly been obtaining a handgun, obtaining ammunition, [and] altering his clothes to hide a machete," Prosecuting Attorney Meg Elam said during opening statements. 

According to the prosecution, Ketcham, Johnson, and Trudeau were former friends. They had recently been arguing over money and an allegedly stolen bicycle.

The prosecution argued on Wednesday that Ketcham had reportedly stolen a handgun and made a sheath inside his jacket to conceal a weapon. Prosecutors believe that Ketcham orchestrated the attack, while the defense argued, that Ketcham acted in self-defense.

"The evidence will bear out, and demonstrate to you, that Mr. Johnson orchestrated this meeting. And that he and Mr. Trudeau the entire time had intended on luring Mr. Ketcham to that spot to attack him," defense attorney Ian L’Heureux said during opening statements. 

"This was a planned, orchestrated attack. And Dylan's actions were reactions to Mr. Johnson and Mr. Trudeau," L’Heureux said.

Prosecutors called multiple witnesses on the first day of the trial. Multiple neighbors took the stand. Those witnesses said they heard a shooting, and a loud bang in the area of Quimby Field on Lincoln Avenue in Gardiner in the early morning hours of Jan. 25, 2020. 

Responding police officers were also called as witnesses by the prosecution. According to police, Johnson was found shot in the parking lot of Quimby Field, and Trudeau was found severely injured on the porch of a nearby home. 

Additional law enforcement and game wardens testified on Wednesday that they followed tracks in the snow and found Ketcham under a barn on nearby River Avenue in Gardiner. 

The trial will be in recess until Friday, but the schedule may be altered due to incoming winter weather. 

Prosecutors and the defense are expected to call additional witnesses. 

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