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Yarmouth man remains free after murder indictment for North Yarmouth shooting

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Yarmouth man remains free after murder indictment for North Yarmouth shooting

NORTH YARMOUTH — A Yarmouth man remained free after being indicted last week for murder in connection with an Oct. 6 shooting death at a Greely Road bee farm.

Merrill “Mike” Kimball, 70, is scheduled to be arraigned at Cumberland County Superior Court on Thursday, Nov. 14, according to Steve McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman.

The attorney general's office presented its case to the Cumberland County Grand Jury, which then handed up the indictment, according to McCausland. An indictment is a finding that enough evidence exists to prosecute, not a determination of guilt.

Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes on Tuesday said Kimball has not been arrested because it has been more than a month since the shooting, and during that time Kimball has been cooperative with police, making himself available for interviews and re-enactments.

"Our assessment is that if we had arrested him, he would have been bailed, and so it didn't seem to accomplish very much to arrest him," Stokes said. "... The point of arresting, in these types of cases, is to eliminate any potential risk of flight. Mr. Kimball has no criminal record here, has connections to the community here, we don't have any reason to believe he will not show up. When asked to show up, he always has during the investigation of this matter."

The shooting of Leon Kelley of Georgetown occurred at Brown's Bee Farm, a business owned by 94-year-old Stan Brown.

Kelley was Brown's son-in-law, and Kimball is the husband of Brown's business partner, Karen Thurlow-Kimball.

Kelley died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, Timothy Feeley of the AG's office confirmed at the time.

"I understand (Kelley's) family is desirous of (Kimball's arrest)," Stokes noted. The attorney general's office will seek several bail conditions from the judge, he said, including that Kimball surrender his firearms, have no contact with Kelley's family, and that he post some amount of property in case he fails to appear at trial.

While it is unusual in murder cases for the accused to be released on bail, it is not unheard of, Stokes said. He said the case could go to trial next year.

Police said Kelley and Kimball apparently had a confrontation at the business, which is behind Brown's house.

Brown, known across state and national beekeeping communities for his longevity, told the Bangor Daily News in the days following the incident that he believes his son-in-law was fatally shot trying to protect his landmark bee supply shop from his business partner's husband.

He said he had told Kelley to keep Kimball from entering the bee supply store, which was closed at the time. Brown said he'd told Kimball several times in recent years to stay away from his shop, but he had gone into the store when it was closed “to take tools, bee supplies or anything else he could sell."

He described his business partner's husband, a lobsterman, as "troubled."

Brown said at the time that he heard gunshots that Sunday afternoon, and that Kelley had "three bullet holes in him."

"My daughter came in and said, 'There's been an accident up at the shop.' So I got up and went up to the shop," he said. "I saw Karen up there and she said, 'My husband shot Leon, and they're taking him away in an ambulance.'"

Beth Brogan of the Bangor Daily News contributed to this report. Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.