June 27, 2022

Lewiston man testifies he didn’t stab Bates College student in ’02

PORTLAND – Testifying for the first time, Brandon Thongsavanh told jurors Monday during his retrial for murder that he didn’t fatally stab a Bates College student during a street brawl in 2002.

The 22-year-old Lewiston man said he and two friends stopped their car when they came upon the fight at about 2:45 a.m., but he said he was punched in the face and didn’t even hear about a stabbing until later when he was at a friend’s apartment.

Inside the apartment bathroom, his friend asked him what had happened, Thongsavanh said.

“He said, ‘Who got stabbed?’ I said I didn’t know anybody got stabbed,” Thongsavanh said while being questioned by his attorney, David Van Dyke.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese tried to portray Thongsavanh as a liar whose testimony contradicted other people’s accounts of what happened the night of the stabbing. She said Thongsavanh repeatedly lied to police because he was guilty. Thongsavanh was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to 58 years in prison for the March 3, 2002, murder of Morgan McDuffee, who was a couple of months from graduation.

The slaying occurred after a chance encounter on Lewiston’s Main Street between two groups of young men – one from Bates College, the other from Auburn – who had been partying at separate locations.

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