A man from Bath is being accused of attempted murder and a host of other charges for apparently trying to shoot and kill a distant relative in Shirley, Maine. While the relationship between the two was distant, some of the charges could have amounted to charges of domestic violence if the facts of the case were only slightly different.
Man Arrested and Accused of Attempted Murder
According to the police and initial reports, a 24-year-old Bath native shot and hit a 29-year-old woman from Shirley.
The two are in-laws.
Police say that the incident happened at the alleged victim's workplace, a local farm and garden store. They say the 24-year-old man planned the attack and that he waited in the horse barn for the woman to enter. Once she came inside, police say he shot her and fled the scene.
He then led police on a car chase that ended in a crash in Albion. He was not hurt in the crash and was taken into custody.
The woman who was shot is recovering with non-life-threatening injuries.
The man is being charged with a host of offenses, including:
Distant Relatives and Domestic Violence
The situation toes the edge of Maine's domestic violence law, which prohibits certain kinds of criminal conduct against “family and household members.”
Maine Statute 19-A § 4002(4) outlines what constitutes a “family and household member.” While the law covers certain relationships that one would expect to create a domestic violence situation – like spouses, ex-spouses, or parents of the same child – it does not quite stop there.
Importantly for this particular scenario, the statute names “adult household members related by consanguinity or affinity” in the listing of family or household members.
People related by “consanguinity” are blood-relatives. This includes relationships like siblings, including half-siblings, as well as parents and children. It also includes mixtures of sibling relationships and different generations – you're related by consanguinity to your uncle because he's a brother of one of your parents.
People related by “affinity,” on the other hand, are those who are related to one another only because of a marriage. They are colloquially referred to as “in-laws” because the phrase is commonly put on the end of these types of relationships. For example:
- If your brother marries a woman, she becomes your sister-in-law
- If you marry someone, their mother becomes your mother-in-law
While this suggests that the criminal charges in this particular case could be pursued as domestic violence charges, the possibility is likely scuttled by the piece of the law that requires in-laws be “adult household members.” Unless the alleged shooter and victim lived in the same house, the charges that have been filed will not be domestic violence allegations.