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Courts and Crime

Mistrial Declared for Woman While 2nd Person Convicted in Oil Protests

AUBURN, Maine — Two Androscoggin County Superior Court juries have reached two different verdicts against a pair of defendants who sat on train tracks in 2013 to protest the transportation of Bakken crude oil into Maine.

Dougles Bowen Jr. of Porter was found guilty of trespassing last August by his jury. A mistrial was declared against a separate defendant, Jesse Dowling of Unity, after her jury could not reach a verdict.

Both Bowen and Dowling said they took the action they did in Auburn to try to prevent a disaster in Maine similar to the one in Lac Megantic, Quebec, a month earlier. Dowling says she's happy with her result.

"You know, I think the people of Auburn, a jury of our peers, at least some of them found that I was doing the right thing and that came through," she says. "And I think that's a victory for everyone."

Asked whether she will be out there again: "Oh, you bet."

Though the two had separate juries and separate attorneys, they were tried together in the same courtroom, which made for some unusual logistics. Dowling's attorney, Logan Perkins, says the circumstances and the evidence in both cases was different, which is why she's glad she had a separate jury.

"You know, I can't speak to what Mr. Bowen's jury thought, but the evidence was different between the two defendants and that's why we had two juries," Perkins says. "I think what it really shows is that two juries was absolutely the right choice."

Perkins says one of the key differences between the defendants and the evidence against them was that Bowen had participated in a similar oil train protest in Fairfield prior to his arrest and prior to the Lac Megantic disaster that leveled much of a downtown and killed 47 people.