No bail, no returning to Vinalhaven

Tense Vinalhaven departure results in charges of bail violation, disorderly conduct

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 3:00pm

    ROCKLAND — Appearing remotely from the Knox Country Jail before a judge at the Knox County Courthouse, Dorian Ames, now of Rockland, was refused bail, based on an alleged violation of release conditions.

    That charge, along with disorderly conduct, was levied against Ames June 23, as he was in the process of leaving Vinalhaven with his belongings.

    Instead, Ames will remain in jail, and fill out a written request for a court-appointed attorney. When counsel is appointed, the issue of bail will be reviewed, according to presiding Judge Paul Mathews, speaking Wednesday afternoon, June 24, to Ames during his arraignment.

    The situation on Vinalhaven evolved June 23, according to a narrative filed with the court by Knox County Sheriff Deputy Arthur Smith and Detective Murray. According the to affidavit, a group of people protesting the death of Roger Feltis had gathered outside the house where Ames had been living.

    He had loaded his vehicle and was leaving the property, when Ames had allegedly spit out the window of a truck cab and gave the group the middle finger. Several witnesses provided testimony to the court alleging the action.

    The death of Feltis has sparked protests over the past week, as citizens have raised voices and signs demanding “Justice for Roger.”

    On June 19, Maine State Police said, “Feltis was fatally injured during a confrontation at the home of Dorian and Briannah Ames on the Roberts Cemetery Road.” Maine State Police said Feltis died as “as a result of injuries inflicted with a knife.”

    No charges have been filed and the investigation into the death continues with the Maine State Police and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

    On June 23, the situation grew more tense, and the Knox County deputies arrested Ames on two counts:

    Count 1: Class E, disorderly conduct. “On or about June 23, 2020, in Vinalhaven, Knox County, Maine, Dorian Ames did knowingly accost, insult, taunt or challenge with offensive, derisive or annoying words, or by gestures or other physical conduct which would in fact have a direct tendency to cause a violent response by an ordinary person in the situation of the person accosted, insulted, taunted or challenged. Dorian Ames made an obscene gestures.”

    Count 2: Violation of condition of release. This offense, according to court files, originates with Sept. 16, 2019 charges of reckless conduct and illegal possession of a firearm, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, criminal mischief, and discharge of a firearm or crossbow near a dwelling.

    The conditions of release stipulated no possession of dangerous weapons. On June 23, he was found, police said, to have in his possession an expandable baton.

    According to the police report, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office had arranged for a Marine Patrol transport given the 30-40 person crowd that had gathered to protest. Ames was transported to the mainland via a Marine Patrol vessel, and then to the Knox County Jail. 

    Ames pleaded not guilty to both charges before Judge Mathews during the June 24 arraignment. The judge communicated with Ames via a large video screen that stood on one half of the courtroom. 

    During the arraignment, Ames made several attempts at discourse with the judge, to which the judge responded that the proceedings were, “not intended to be a conversation with the judge today.”

    Judge Mathews warned him later during the arraignment that a record of the proceedings was underway and that anything Ames said then could be used as evidence against him.

    The day’s court appointed counsel for Ames requested bail, saying Ames needed to assist his wife because she was having surgery on her severed hand. She also said that because he was out of work because of COVID-19, he was in the process of looking for a job.

    The prosecutors, on the other hand, argued that the violation of conditions of release was serious. The state requested revocation of bail, and that Ames be prohibited from returning to Vinalhaven.

    Ames is to appear in court July 23, at 8:30 a.m. and again on Aug. 13, at 8:30 a.m.