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

A Scarborough roofing contractor was in courtroom for a bail violation on Monday, just two months prior to he goes on demo for manslaughter in the 2018 dying of a employee.

Shawn Purvis stands in court in May perhaps 2019 through his arraignment on expenses in the dying of a worker who fell from the roof of a property on Munjoy Hill in December 2018. Jill Brady/Personnel Photographer

A grand jury indicted Shawn Purvis in April 2019 on 1 rely of manslaughter and an additional of workplace manslaughter, a not often used statue. Purvis pleaded not guilty the subsequent thirty day period and has remained free of charge from custody under sure situations.

The hearing at the Cumberland County Courthouse provided a window into the tensions that have simmered during the practically 3 a long time considering the fact that Alan Loignon, Purvis’ fifty percent brother, fell to his death from a roof on Munjoy Hill.

Final thirty day period, Purvis walked into a Subway shop in Scarborough and ran into the mom of Loignon’s fiancee. At the time, Purvis was in the center of a civil hearing on office safety violations that could cost him additional than $2 million in fines. Surveillance footage showed that he and Sharon Huff ignored every other at the sandwich counter but did not capture the conversation in the parking good deal that prompted the judge’s stern text Monday.

Huff testified that Purvis informed her to explain to her daughter that “she is a (expletive) scumbag.” Purvis admitted in court docket that he created a profane assertion to the girl as he walked previous her motor vehicle, but he denied telling her to go any information to her daughter. Purvis has not been allowed to have any speak to with Loignon’s fiancee considering that the court uncovered previous yr that he threw nails in front of her vehicle.

Outstanding Courtroom Justice Thomas Warren instructed Purvis on Monday that he wished to revoke his bail but held off only since COVID-19 at the Cumberland County Jail could jeopardize the future and overdue demo. Warren, nonetheless, mentioned he would do it if Purvis experienced another violation right before or during his trial.

“I would operate the threat of aborting the trial – mainly because at some stage, we have to imply what we say with these bail situations,” Warren said.

The demo was in the beginning scheduled for March 2020 but was delayed by the onset of the pandemic. Jury collection is scheduled for Nov. 29. The parties put in the relaxation of Monday hashing out difficulties in advance of demo, these kinds of as if and when marijuana use would be described in front of the jurors, and how a lot the condition will be authorized to say about Purvis’ preceding interactions with the federal Occupational Health and Security Administration. They also talked about logistics – which includes how numerous persons would be in the courtroom – for holding a demo with safeguards to avert the distribute of COVID-19.

Purvis, 47, owns Purvis Dwelling Enhancement in Scarborough. The organization web-site advertises products and services for roofing, siding, home windows and gutters, and its slogan is “Don’t be nervous, call Purvis.”

Loignon, 30, of Biddeford, fell Dec. 13, 2018, although working on a third-tale roof on Congress Avenue. He was not donning a safety harness. He died that day at Maine Healthcare Centre.

Purvis and Loignon have been half brothers. Loignon was engaged to marry Kristina Huff, and the couple experienced two daughters. His obituary, printed in a local newspaper, explained him as “a really hard employee and an awesome service provider and loved ones male.” In 2019, his spouse and children submitted a wrongful demise lawsuit against Purvis in York County Top-quality Court.

Assistant Attorneys Standard Leanne Robbin and Gregg Bernstein declined to examine the legal situation Monday.

Defense lawyer Thomas Hallett reported Monday that what happened to Loignon was “a true tragedy, a horrible tragedy.”

“But it was not a crime,” he stated.

This was the next hearing for Purvis on doable bail violations. Originally, he was introduced on personalized recognizance. In January 2020, the Attorney General’s Business accused him of not taking critically a prerequisite to report his jobs each 7 days to the condition. Robbin also mentioned at the time that Purvis threw nails in front of Kristina Huff’s car or truck when she drove by one of his get the job done internet sites and took pictures. Warren warned Purvis that he would mail him to jail if he observed any further violations, and he amplified his bail from individual recognizance to $250.

On Monday, Sharon Huff testified that she was in her truck in the Subway parking great deal, with the doors closed and home windows rolled up, when Purvis walked past and said, “You elevated two (expletive) scumbags.” She explained she opened her vehicle door and identified as right after him, “At minimum your young children have their father.” She said that he produced the comment about what to convey to her daughter as he was strolling absent.

“I look at my daughter and grandchildren experience every single single working day,” Huff testified.

Purvis, who testified to dispute her claim, said he felt she was needling him by staring at him from her car. Even though he admitted to creating a edition of the 1st statement Huff recounted, and recurring it numerous periods in court, he denied that he requested her to give a concept to her daughter.

“I felt virtually like a pincushion, like she was poking me,” he explained.

On Monday, Warren extra a different $1,000 to Purvis’ bail and ordered him to post to electronic monitoring right up until the trial. Just after the listening to, Hallett mentioned he did not have substantially time to talk about that ruling with Purvis, but he imagined his customer was upset but accepting of the judge’s selection.

“They’ve been bringing bail violations the overall time,” he additional. “The condition is overreaching.”

A central dilemma for the jury when determining the place of work manslaughter cost will be how to define the employment connection in between Purvis and Loignon. Federal regulation requires companies to give selected safety products, such as drop harnesses, or take other actions to reduce falls. But in an job interview immediately after the indictment, Purvis argued that he is not an employer and alternatively hires independent subcontractors. He mentioned he cannot pressure people subcontractors to use the basic safety devices he delivers.

The scenario is possible only the 2nd time prosecutors in Maine have sought expenses below the office manslaughter statute, which is a subsection of manslaughter and carries a highest penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 wonderful.

The 1st acknowledged prosecution, in 1991, transpired in York County, when a grand jury indicted a New Hampshire contracting organization in connection with the death of a 23-calendar year-aged person who was crushed while crews ended up overhauling the Route 1 bridge among Portsmouth and Kittery in 1989, according to The Related Push. Robbin explained on Monday that scenario finished with an acquittal.

If Purvis is convicted on the manslaughter cost, a Course A felony, he will confront as lots of as 30 many years in prison and a $50,000 fantastic.

He also could confront additional than $2 million in fines for OSHA citations for failing to shield employees from falls. Purvis has contested those citations, and a listening to took location over several days in October and November. An administrative regulation choose is not predicted to rule in that situation for months.

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