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Trial underway for South Paris double murder

A Peru, Maine, man is on trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend on New Year's Day 2019

PARIS, Maine — Mark Penley of Peru, Maine, is standing trial this week for the murder of Heather Bickford and Dana Hill in Hill's apartment on New Year's Day 2019.

According to court documents, Bickford dated Penley for 11 years but they had ended their relationship months before and at the time of her death, she was in a relationship with Hill.

Court documents said Penley talked about hurting Bickford and Hill multiple times before. Saying things like 'if I can't have her, no one can."

Court documents also reveal that Bickford was talking about filing a protection order from Penley because he kept 'bothering' her but couldn't do so until the courts re-opened after the New Year's holiday.

Wednesday afternoon, the state and defense presented opening statements to the jury. State prosecutor Leane Zainea told the jury that there is evidence linking Penley Hill's apartment including bloodstains on his boots that matched Bickford's blood.

She also said she has messages where Penley said he was going to hurt Hill.

"In a message to Heather he told her he was going to kill Dana," Zainea said to the jury.

Defense attorney Maurice Porter told the jury to keep an open mind and reminded them that Penley is innocent until proven guilty and it's up to the state to prove without a reasonable doubt that Penley committed the crime.

"Mark is presumed not guilty. He doesn't have to prove he couldn't have done it he doesn't have to prove he didn't do it he doesn't have to prove anything," Porter said.

Porter said that Penley 'may or may not testify' before the end of trial. The trial is expected to last at least a week.

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