Trial nears for Scarborough roofing contractor charged with manslaughter in worker’s death

Trial nears for Scarborough roofing contractor charged with manslaughter in worker’s death

A Scarborough roofing contractor was in court docket for a bail violation on Monday, just two months prior to he goes on trial for manslaughter in the 2018 loss of life of a worker.

Shawn Purvis stands in court docket in Could 2019 during his arraignment on charges in the loss of life of a employee who fell from the roof of a house on Munjoy Hill in December 2018. Jill Brady/Personnel Photographer

A grand jury indicted Shawn Purvis in April 2019 on 1 count of manslaughter and another of office manslaughter, a hardly ever applied statue. Purvis pleaded not guilty the pursuing month and has remained free of charge from custody underneath selected ailments.

The listening to at the Cumberland County Courthouse provided a window into the tensions that have simmered throughout the just about three decades considering the fact that Alan Loignon, Purvis’ 50 % brother, fell to his demise from a roof on Munjoy Hill.

Last month, Purvis walked into a Subway shop in Scarborough and ran into the mother of Loignon’s fiancee. At the time, Purvis was in the center of a civil hearing on workplace basic safety violations that could cost him extra than $2 million in fines. Surveillance footage showed that he and Sharon Huff dismissed just about every other at the sandwich counter but did not capture the conversation in the parking large amount that prompted the judge’s stern words and phrases Monday.

Huff testified that Purvis informed her to notify her daughter that “she is a (expletive) scumbag.” Purvis admitted in courtroom that he produced a profane statement to the female as he walked earlier her vehicle, but he denied telling her to pass any concept to her daughter. Purvis has not been permitted to have any contact with Loignon’s fiancee considering the fact that the courtroom found past year that he threw nails in front of her car or truck.

Top-quality Courtroom Justice Thomas Warren informed Purvis on Monday that he needed to revoke his bail but held off only for the reason that COVID-19 at the Cumberland County Jail could jeopardize the upcoming and overdue demo. Warren, having said that, stated he would do it if Purvis experienced yet another violation just before or for the duration of his trial.

“I would run the threat of aborting the demo – simply because at some place, we have to suggest what we say with these bail disorders,” Warren said.

The trial was to begin with scheduled for March 2020 but was delayed by the onset of the pandemic. Jury choice is scheduled for Nov. 29. The functions spent the relaxation of Monday hashing out problems ahead of trial, such as if and when cannabis use would be talked about in front of the jurors, and how much the condition will be permitted to say about Purvis’ earlier interactions with the federal Occupational Wellbeing and Safety Administration. They also reviewed logistics – like how quite a few people today would be in the courtroom – for keeping a demo with safety measures to avoid the distribute of COVID-19.

Purvis, 47, owns Purvis House Improvement in Scarborough. The business enterprise web-site advertises products and services for roofing, siding, windows and gutters, and its slogan is “Don’t be nervous, connect with Purvis.”

Loignon, 30, of Biddeford, fell Dec. 13, 2018, when performing on a third-tale roof on Congress Road. He was not donning a safety harness. He died that working day at Maine Professional medical Heart.

Purvis and Loignon were being fifty percent brothers. Loignon was engaged to marry Kristina Huff, and the few had two daughters. His obituary, published in a regional newspaper, explained him as “a tricky worker and an incredible company and family members person.” In 2019, his relatives submitted a wrongful loss of life lawsuit versus Purvis in York County Top-quality Courtroom.

Assistant Attorneys Standard Leanne Robbin and Gregg Bernstein declined to go over the criminal circumstance Monday.

Protection legal professional Thomas Hallett claimed Monday that what occurred to Loignon was “a true tragedy, a horrible tragedy.”

“But it was not a criminal offense,” he mentioned.

This was the next listening to for Purvis on feasible bail violations. To begin with, he was produced on personalized recognizance. In January 2020, the Lawyer General’s Office environment accused him of not getting significantly a need to report his careers each individual 7 days to the condition. Robbin also said at the time that Purvis threw nails in front of Kristina Huff’s motor vehicle when she drove by a person of his perform sites and took images. Warren warned Purvis that he would send out him to jail if he observed any extra violations, and he increased his bail from individual recognizance to $250.

On Monday, Sharon Huff testified that she was in her truck in the Subway parking lot, with the doors shut and windows rolled up, when Purvis walked past and reported, “You elevated two (expletive) scumbags.” She said she opened her car or truck doorway and known as immediately after him, “At least your children have their father.” She stated that he manufactured the comment about what to inform her daughter as he was strolling absent.

“I glance at my daughter and grandchildren suffer each individual solitary day,” Huff testified.

Purvis, who testified to dispute her claim, reported he felt she was needling him by staring at him from her car or truck. Though he admitted to making a variation of the to start with assertion Huff recounted, and repeated it many times in court docket, he denied that he requested her to give a information to her daughter.

“I felt pretty much like a pincushion, like she was poking me,” he stated.

On Monday, Warren added one more $1,000 to Purvis’ bail and purchased him to post to electronic checking right up until the trial. Just after the hearing, Hallett reported he did not have substantially time to focus on that ruling with Purvis, but he thought his shopper was upset but accepting of the judge’s choice.

“They’ve been bringing bail violations the entire time,” he extra. “The point out is overreaching.”

A central query for the jury when selecting the place of work manslaughter charge will be how to determine the employment relationship amongst Purvis and Loignon. Federal regulation demands employers to deliver particular security equipment, these types of as slide harnesses, or just take other measures to reduce falls. But in an job interview right after the indictment, Purvis argued that he is not an employer and in its place hires unbiased subcontractors. He reported he can’t drive those subcontractors to use the basic safety gear he delivers.

The case is most likely only the 2nd time prosecutors in Maine have sought expenses under the place of work manslaughter statute, which is a subsection of manslaughter and carries a highest penalty of 5 a long time in prison and a $5,000 great.

The initially recognized prosecution, in 1991, occurred in York County, when a grand jury indicted a New Hampshire contracting organization in relationship with the death of a 23-calendar year-outdated male who was crushed whilst crews were being overhauling the Route 1 bridge involving Portsmouth and Kittery in 1989, in accordance to The Related Press. Robbin said on Monday that scenario finished with an acquittal.

If Purvis is convicted on the manslaughter demand, a Course A felony, he will deal with as several as 30 a long time in jail and a $50,000 fantastic.

He also could face much more than $2 million in fines for OSHA citations for failing to shield personnel from falls. Purvis has contested all those citations, and a hearing took position more than multiple days in Oct and November. An administrative legislation judge is not anticipated to rule in that case for months.

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