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Yarmouth man pleads not guilty to murder in North Yarmouth shooting

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Yarmouth man pleads not guilty to murder in North Yarmouth shooting

NORTH YARMOUTH — A Yarmouth man indicted last week for murder in connection with the Oct. 6 shooting death of Leon Kelley at a Greely Road bee farm pleaded not guilty Thursday morning.

Merrill "Mike" Kimball, 70, was arraigned at Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland and released on bail.

Bail was set at $100,000 surety, which means property of Kimball's worth at least that much will be at risk if he violates conditions of release, according to Deputy Attorney General William Stokes.

The court imposed several conditions, including that Kimball must not possess firearms, have no contact with almost a dozen people related to Kelley, have no use or possession of alcohol or illicit drugs, and surrender his passport.

Kelley, of Georgetown, was shot and killed 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.

Police said Kelley and Kimball apparently had a confrontation at the business, which is behind Brown's house. Kimball allegedly used a black, Ruger LCP .380 handgun to shoot Kelley, according to court documents.

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

Stokes said Nov. 12 that 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."

While it is unusual in murder cases for the accused to be released on bail, it is not unheard of, Stokes said.

Kimball has until Feb. 1, 2014, to file pre-trial motions, Stokes said. The case has been assigned to Superior Court Justice Roland Cole.

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.