TRIAL BEGINS: Daniel L. Fortune, center, is escorted by deputies into Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan on the first day of his trial on May 6, 2010.

Staff photo by David Leaming

THE STATE V. DANIEL FORTUNE


Daniel L. Fortune, 22, of Augusta, is one of two men accused of invading the home of the Guerrette family on May 28, 2008, and maiming a father and his daughter in a machete attack. Leo R. Hylton, 20, of Augusta, pleaded guilty to charges related to the attack and was sentenced Feb. 26 to 90 years in prison with all but 50 years suspended.


William G. Guerrette Jr., then 48, and Nicole Guerrette, then 10, were critically injured in the attack in their Pittston home. Prosecutors say Fortune and Hylton attacked the Guerrettes with a machete before dawn. Nicole spent six weeks hospitalized and has permanent brain damage; her father was hospitalized for eight weeks and is missing a finger. He underwent surgery in August to repair a severed muscle just below his left eye socket so he could blink again.


Fortune, with another male, had already been accused when the attack occurred of stealing a safe in November 2007 from William Guerrette's home office. The safe contained $30,000 in $100 bills, rare coins and historic bank notes printed in central Maine between 1800 and 1920.


Investigators say Fortune and Hylton planned the attack on William Guerrette's home to get bail money for a charge against Fortune and to get Guerrette to drop an earlier theft charge against Fortune.


Fortune's trial started May 6, and ended May 14. After 4 1/2 hours of deliberation, the jury found Fortune guilty of all criminal charges.



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Friday, May 14, 2010

Fortune found guilty

SKOWHEGAN -- A jury on Friday convicted Daniel L. Fortune of all criminal charges related to a May 27, 2008, home invasion in Pittston that left a father and daughter seriously injured. Fortune, 22, of Augusta, was accused of 11 crimes, including four charges of aggravated attempted murder -- two involving premeditation and two involving extreme cruelty -- in the machete attack on William Guerrette Jr., then 48, and Nicole Guerrette, then 10.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guerrette: 'What are you doing? Get out!"

SKOWHEGAN – William G. Guerrette Jr. spent a month in a coma after a brutal machete attack inside his home the attack, and bears scars on his left arm and head, he told a jury Thursday in Somerset County Superior Court. Guerrette pointed to his arm and head as he showed Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley where he was slashed during testimony in Day Six of the trial of Daniel L. Fortune.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fortune: 'I didn't touch anybody'

SKOWHEGAN — Daniel L. Fortune, accused of taking part in a predawn machete attack at the Pittston home of the Guerrettes on May 27, 2008, is on the witness stand this afternoon in Somerset County Superior Court. He is testifying in his own defense, facing an array of charges, including aggravated attempted manslaughter, in connection with the attack.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Defense to start making case today

SKOWHEGAN — Daniel L. Fortune will begin his defense today in Somerset County Superior Court. Fortune, 22, of Augusta, is charged with aggravated attempted murder in the home-invasion attack on William Guerrette Jr.; and his daughter, Nicole, who was 10 when the crime occurred in the predawn hours of May 27, 2008.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DNA experts tesify in machete attack trial

SKOWHEGAN — Jurors learned today about how the evidence collected in the investigation of the May 2008 home invasion in Pittston was processed and analyzed at the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory in Augusta.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Video details machete attacks

SKOWHEGAN -- The witness who proved so forgetful on the stand Monday was the main actor in a DVD shown to jurors Tuesday -- the fourth day of the home invasion trial of Daniel L. Fortune. In the video, Fortune's co-defendant, his foster brother Leo R. Hylton, led police on a walk-through of the Guerrette family's Pittston home and showed police how he hacked with his machete at the father and daughter who interrupted the robbery attempt.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

As trial continues, stories change

SKOWHEGAN – The home invasion and theft trial of Daniel L. Fortune picked up today with the words of codefendant Leo Rose Hylton being read to the jury. Hylton, 20, who spent almost four hours on on the witness stand on Monday, was ordered back to the trial in Somerset County Superior Court again Tuesday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Convicted co-defendant says he can't remember

SKOWHEGAN -- A man guilty of maiming a father and daughter in a 2008 Pittston home invasion testified Monday at a co-defendant's trial he recalls little of the days surrounding the incident. Leo R. Hylton, 20, was the only witness Monday in Somerset County Superior Court -- the third day of the trial of Daniel L. Fortune, 22.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hylton ordered to tesify at Fortune trial

SKOWHEGAN – A man who already pleaded guilty to maiming a father and daughter in a 2008 Pittston home invasion was ordered to testify Monday on the third day of the trial of a codefendant, Daniel L. Fortune.

Friday, May 7, 2010

10-year-old initially thought dead, deputy says at Fortune trial

SKOWHEGAN -- The deputy who arrived first at the Pittston home invasion scene two years ago thought the young girl in the bed upstairs was dead. “Her head was split open like an egg,” Deputy David Bucknam testified Friday on the second day of the trial of Daniel Fortune.

Friday, May 7, 2010

On first day of Fortune trial, defense deflects blame to Hylton

SKOWHEGAN -- Jurors on Thursday watched a silent, videotaped walk-through of the scene of a Pittston home invasion as investigators saw it just hours after a father and daughter were maimed by a machete-wielding intruder.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Prosecution lays out case in Fortune trial

SKOWHEGAN – A jury today heard a prosecutor lay out his theory about why an Augusta man participated in a machete attack that left a father and young daughter seriously injured almost two years ago. Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley said Daniel L. Fortune, 22, needed money for bail and he needed Pittston resident William Guerrette to drop earlier theft charges about him.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jury seated in Pittston attack case

SKOWHEGAN — Jury selection in the case of Daniel L. Fortune, 22, of Augusta, took all of Tuesday morning in Somerset County Superior Court. More than 130 potential jurors reported to court and initially filled out a questionnaire asking whether they could decide fairly a case involving an individual or individuals of a minority race. The jurors all appeared to be white.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Home invasion trial set for May

AUGUSTA -- The second man accused in a home invasion in Pittston in November 2008 that left a father and daughter severely injured will go to trial in Skowhegan in May.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

50 years for home invasion

AUGUSTA — Leo Rose Hylton, 19, was sentenced Friday to 90 years in prison — with all but 50 years suspended and 15 years’ probation — for a pre-dawn machete attack on a sleeping household that left a father and daughter maimed. Hylton had pleaded guilty nine months ago to three counts of attempted murder for the May 2008 attack in Pittston on former legislator William Guerrette Jr. and his daughter, Nicole, then 10.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

'GUILTY, YOUR HONOR'

AUGUSTA -- Leo R. Hylton, 19, will spend up to 50 years behind bars for maiming a father and daughter with a machete in a home invasion a year ago. Hylton pleaded guilty Friday in Kennebec County Superior Court to three counts of attempted murder, and one each of robbery and burglary, in a pre-dawn attack that left William Guerrette Jr. and his daughter Nicole, then 10, hospitalized for weeks. The attack sent other family members fleeing from the house or hiding in locked rooms.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Home invasion suspect pleads not guilty

AUGUSTA -- One of the two men accused in a May 2008 Pittston home invasion pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 14 charges. Daniel L. Fortune, 21, of Augusta pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit robbery. Fortune, handcuffed and chained at the ankles, wore a dark green jail uniform during court proceedings Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Home invasion suspect faces new charges

AUGUSTA -- One of two men charged in a Pittston home invasion that injured a father and daughter severely now faces additional charges. Daniel L. Fortune, 21, of Augusta is charged with two counts of elevated aggravated assault in addition to 12 charges previously lodged against him.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fortune's bail not decreased

AUGUSTA -- A judge refused to reduce bail Tuesday for a man charged with attempting to murder a Pittston father and daughter last May. Daniel L. Fortune, 21, of Augusta, has been indicted on four counts of aggravated attempted murder -- two counts each for William Guerrette and Nicole Guerrette -- as well as attempted murder, robbery, burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Starting over

When the security alarm went off just before 3 a.m. on May 27, William Guerrette Jr. knew it wasn't a fault in the system. Something was gravely wrong. "He said 'Someone is in the house,' and got out of bed," his wife, Melanie Guerrette, recalled. "He took two steps out (of the bedroom) and they were right there."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Suspect in machete attacks pleads not guilty

AUGUSTA — Almost four months after a predawn machete attack left a father and daughter seriously injured, a suspect pleaded not guilty to eight charges related to that home invasion, including several punishable by up to life in prison.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Second suspect indicted in home invasion attacks

AUGUSTA -- A second man has been indicted in connection with a Pittston home invasion May 27 in which a father and daughter were severely injured by a machete-wielding attacker. Daniel L. Fortune, 20, of Augusta, faces four counts of aggravated attempted murder, one count of attempted murder and other charges in the attacks on William and Nicole Guerrette in their Pittston home.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Home invasions a menace to area

There are likely few things more frightening than waking up in the dark to find an intruder in your home. What do you do? "Try not to do anything that would escalate it," Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey cautions. "It's a very dynamic situation."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not guilty plea in attacks

AUGUSTA -- The man accused in a Pittston home invasion that left a father and daughter seriously injured two months ago pleaded not guilty Tuesday to all eight charges stemming from that event.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Attack survivors battle on

Nicole Guerrette is like many 11-year-old girls: She likes to swim, play with friends and read, especially the Harry Potter series. But the soft-spoken child with hazel eyes is experiencing something most girls her age never will. She is undergoing treatment for injuries she and her father, William Guerrette Jr., 48, incurred during a brutal machete attack in their own home May 27 in Pittston.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hylton could face life in prison for attempted murder

AUGUSTA -- A man accused in a Pittston home invasion could face life in prison if convicted of charges handed up Thursday by a Kennebec County grand jury.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Man accused in home invasion has no comment at hearing

AUGUSTA -- Leo R. Hylton, accused in a home invasion in May that left a father and daughter critically injured, appeared briefly in court on Tuesday to hear that the charges against him continue.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Attack victim to watch graduation via link

PITTSTON -- Nicole Guerrette, critically injured along with her father in a home invasion last month, will be watching her fifth-grade class graduate today via laptop computer from her hospital room. Ten-year-old Nicole and her father, William Guerrette, 48, are being treated at separate hospitals for stab wounds suffered during the May 27 attack. Nicole is at a Portland hospital and her father remains at a Lewiston hospital.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Home invasion suspect moved to different jail

The only man facing charges from a home invasion that left a father and daughter severely injured has been moved to a jail in southern Maine. Authorities said the move was to keep him away from a second person who may be charged in the same incident.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Stabbing victims recovering

PITTSTON -- William Guerrette, 48, and his 10-year-old daughter Nicole are surrounded by family as they are treated at separate hospitals for knife wounds suffered during the May 27 attack, said Lester Dickey of Gardiner, a relative and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Farmingdale, where the Guerrettes worship.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Home invasion suspect's arrest shocks former classmates

GARDINER -- Some students at the Gardiner Area High School campus are struggling to comprehend what happened last week. With a week before graduation, spring sports teams in full swing and students looking forward to summer, the biggest topic of conversation -- and bewilderment -- at the school Friday concerned former student Leo Hylton.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Attack suspect's roommate sent to hospital after injury at jail

AUGUSTA -- On a day when an 18-year-old Augusta man appeared at a court hearing on charges related to a brutal assault in Pittston, a second man described as "a potential co-defendant" ended up at a local hospital following an assault by a fellow inmate.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Attack suspect's bail set at $1 million; victims remain in critical condition

AUGUSTA -- An 18-year-old Augusta man was arrested Thursday morning in connection with a brutal attack and home invasion in Pittston that left a father and daughter critically injured. Leo Rose Hylton was charged with elevated aggravated assault in the attack on William G. Guerrette Jr., 48, and his daughter, Nicole, 10.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Church plans show of support for family

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be fasting and praying this weekend for the welfare of two of their own who were critically injured in an attack in their Pittston home early Tuesday morning.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Father, daughter still in critical condition; public assured Pittston is safe

PITTSTON -- A father and daughter remained in critical condition at separate Maine hospitals Wednesday, a day after they were critically injured in an attack in their home. Investigators remained tight-lipped Wednesday about the case in which William G. Guerrette Jr., 48, and Nicole Guerrette, 10, were reportedly stabbed in their Stoney Acres Road home early Tuesday morning.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Neighbors shocked, fearful after home invasion

PITTSTON -- Residents and neighbors on Wednesday struggled to come to grips with a violent crime that left two people critically injured and some in this rural community of 2,700 worried for their safety.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Suspect in robbery of Guerrette safe says he was shocked by attack

AUGUSTA -- When Maine State Police officers pounded on Daniel Fortune's door at 5:30 Tuesday morning, he said he was shocked as anyone to hear tragedy had befallen a Pittston family. But the 20-year-old Augusta man admitted he wasn't completely surprised police were at his house: He had pleaded not guilty to charges of theft for his alleged role in stealing a safe containing more than $100,000 in cash, rare coins and currency last November after a party at William Guerrette's Pittston home.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Violent crimes rare in Maine

Reports of Tuesday's home invasion in Pittston can shatter the public's sense of safety, but police say Maine is one of the last places in the country you would expect such a crime to occur. "We live in a very safe community," Kennebec County Sheriff Randall A. Liberty said. "The occurrence that happened early this morning is a very rare act."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two critically injured in home invasion attack

PITTSTON -- A man and a child were critically injured early Tuesday morning after an attack during a home invasion, police said. The home on Stoney Acres Road where the attack took place just before 2 a.m. is owned by William G. Guerrette Jr., 48, a former state legislator.