The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by two Maine State Police troopers accused of failing to protect a woman from a man who went on a deadly rampage, allowing a civil lawsuit to proceed.
Brittany Irish, who was 22 at the time, reported to police that her former boyfriend Anthony Lord had kidnapped and sexually assaulted her. She also said she told police that the registered sex offender had threatened her if she told anyone what he had done. Still, a Maine State Police detective left a voicemail for Lord, asking for a return phone call, the Portland Press Herald reports.
That evening, Lord set fire to a barn owned by Brittany Irish’s parents in Benedicta. She said she asked for an officer to protect her family, but that request was denied.
In the early hours of the next morning, Lord beat up a man in Silver Ridge Township and stole firearms from him. He then went to the Irish home in Benedicta, where he shot and killed Brittany Irish’s boyfriend, 22-year-old Kyle Hewitt, and wounded her mother. Irish tried to escape in a passing pickup truck, but Lord shot and wounded the driver. He then drove her to a woodlot in Lee, where he fired at two employees and killed 58-year-old Kevin Tozier.
A massive manhunt ended later that day when Lord gave himself up to police at his uncle’s house in Houlton. He pleaded guilty in 2017 to two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, theft of firearms and eluding an officer. A charge of kidnapping was dismissed. A judge gave him to two life sentences, and Maine’s top court upheld that punishment.
Two of the three troopers petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal. The National Fraternal Order of Police and the Maine State Police Association filed briefs in their support. Now that the court has denied that petition, the case will return to the federal court in Maine, possibly for a trial on the central claims of the lawsuit.