Trevor Averill pleads not guilty to murder, manslaughter charges in connection with the death of his infant daughter

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Sep. 10—AUBURN — Trevor Averill, who is facing charges of murder and manslaughter in connection with the death of his 2-month-old daughter in July 2020, has pleaded not guilty to both charges. He will remain in the Androscoggin County Jail on $50,000 cash bail, pending trial.

Averill, 27, who lived at 592 North Parish Road in Turner last year, was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on charges of depraved indifference murder and manslaughter. He was arrested at his home at 10 Daniel Lane in Buckfield by Maine State Police a short time later.

Averill's attorney, Jeff Wilson, requested that his client's bail be reduced to $5,000 cash, or that the $50,000 amount be adjusted to an unsecured bond. During Friday's plea hearing in Androscoggin County Superior Court, the court declined that request based on the argument of Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue, who is prosecuting the case.

According to Bogue, Averill's daughter — Harper Averill — died after suffering a fractured skull and other severe injuries indicative of being violently shaken.

In the early morning hours of July 22, 2020, the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office responded to the Averill home for the report of a 2-month-old infant in medical distress. Deputies performed CPR and assisted rescue personnel with the child. The infant was first brought to Central Maine Medical Center for treatment, and later transferred by LifeFlight to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she died from her injuries.

Averill and his daughter were living with the child's mother at the time of the child's death. The couple is not married.

According to Bogue, police investigated the 24 hours before the child's death and determined that Harper had been with her parents and other family members early in the day of July 21, 2020. "She was fine, acting normally," Bogue told the court, and the defendant, the child and the child's mother returned home in the afternoon where the child was fed and everybody went to bed around 8 p.m.

According to Bogue, "Harper woke up slightly after midnight. The defendant brought her out of the bassinet, changed her and was alone with her when she started to exhibit what he described as choking, and was unresponsive."

First responders noticed a bruise on Harper before she was moved to the ambulance for the trip to CMMC, Bogue said, and once she arrived at Maine Med she was assessed by a physician who specializes in child abuse injuries.

The most significant findings of that assessment, Bogue told the court, was acute head trauma associated with violent shaking. Harper had suffered a fractured skull and a hyperextended injury to her spine.

In addition, Bogue said, Harper exhibited other signs of abuse, including a healing fracture to her ribs that appeared to be 10 days old and an injury to her mouth.

Bogue's argument to maintain the high cash bail was based on the death of the child caused by traumatic brain injury so severe it caused retinal hemorrhaging.

"This is a very violent event that occurred to this child," Bogue said, who had been "presenting normally by all witness accounts" earlier in the day.

During the investigation, Averill did tell police he had once grabbed his daughter by her chest, which Bogue said is "consistent with the healing rib fracture that was discovered by medical professionals."

Wilson, in arguing for lower bail, said Averill is a local resident with a full time job that he has held for several years and an "absolutely supportive family." At the time of his arrest, Averill had been living in Buckfield with the child's mother.

The strength of the state's case has to be considered when setting bail, Wilson argued before Justice Steward Harold II, and from what information he has on the case so far "I would argue it sounds like a circumstantial case at best," based on "speculation as to what happened to this child."

The investigation into Harper's death began more than a year ago and, according to Wilson, Averill "was aware of the investigation and did nothing but continue to work, continue to reside in the area. He did not flee." Wilson argued that "there is no threat to the community in this matter. My client doesn't have other children."

Wilson called Averill "a fantastic candidate to be released on an amount (of bail) that's attainable. That attainable amount is $5,000 cash, or the court could set unsecured (bail) at $50,000."

Harold asked Bogue if the state would consider the lower bail sufficient, and she did not. She did not oppose Wilson's request to have Averill undergo a Maine Pretrial Services contract review in preparation for any future consideration of adjustment in bail.

Averill has one misdemeanor drug conviction from 2016, but no other criminal record.

If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison on the murder charge and up to 30 years in prison on the manslaughter charge.

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