AUGUSTA - With some jurors claiming that their colleagues were biased against the government, a mistrial was declared Thursday in the case of five people who were charged with criminal trespassing in November in an Occupy Augusta protest at the governor's mansion.
On trial in Kennebec County Superior Court on the misdemeanor charge were Elizabeth Burke, 48, of Union; Kimberly Cormier, 47, of Benton; Patricia Messier, 63, of Wiscasset; Jenny Gray, 54, of Wiscasset; and David Page, 44, of Surry.
After the mistrial was declared shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday, defense attorney Philip Worden said he would have preferred a verdict of not guilty. But the defendants smiled and congratulated themselves and about a dozen supporters, appearing to take the outcome as a victory.
"Obviously, there were a number of people on the jury who understood the defendants' First Amendment rights and understood our argument that the Blaine House is part of the capital complex and, therefore, a public forum," said Lynne Williams, the other defense attorney.