A man convicted of attempted murder in a 2019 shooting at a Presque Isle residence will receive a new trial.

The Maine Supreme Judicial court this week overturned the conviction of 34-year-old Jomo White, formerly of Atlanta, Georgia. The court ordered a new trial saying the Aroostook County District Attorney made “improper comments” to the jury during White’s trial in 2021, according to a report by the Portland Press Herald.

The Presque Isle shooting took place near two schools

Two other individuals were present when White allegedly shot and critically injured a man in September 2019 at a home on the Northern Road in Presque Isle. The shooting occurred near the Presque Isle Middle School and Northern Maine Community College and both schools were put in lock-down while police searched for the suspects.

White was arrested two days later in Presque Isle. He was found guilty on several charges, including attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and robbery.

Maine Supreme Court overturns attempted murder conviction

In its ruling this week, the high court wrote, “We cannot ignore the context: Aroostook County is overwhelmingly white, and the defendant here was an out-of-state, Black, self-acknowledged drug dealer. The prosecutor should have taken great pains to ensure that the jury focused on the elements of the offenses charged and the relevant issues relating to White’s defenses. Instead, the prosecutor incessantly referenced drugs and drug dealing, diverting the jury from its legitimate task and implicitly invoking xenophobia and racial stereotyping.”

The date for White’s re-trial has not been set.

The victim, who was shot twice in the chest and once in the arm, was airlifted to a Bangor hospital in critical condition and survived. A Presque Isle woman was charged with assault in connection with the case. A Blaine man who was also arrested in the incident passed away in July of this year.

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