Underage drinking trial ends in deal after jury deadlocks | News
PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A case that divided a community has also divided a jury.
Barry and Paula Spencer of Falmouth were on trial accused of allowing minors to drink at a party at their home. Jurors told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked after a second day of deliberations. Attorneys in the case then reached a settlement that will lead to all charges being dismissed.
It's a deal that everyone seems pleased with. For Barry and Paula Spencer it marks that end of a trying ordeal that had them on trial facing possible jail time and up to 12-thousand dollars each in fines.
"It's been a very difficult time. It's been 7 or 8 months now," said Barry Spencer. His wife Paula added "Particularly for me, it tore me apart and my family apart for a long time."
The Spencers are not getting off scot free. They each must pay $8800 dollars in fees, restitution and contributions. Among them, $2500 to Falmouth Project Graduation, $2500 to the Make A Wish Foundation and $1000 to Cumberland County Safe and Drug Free Communities.
They must also perform 100 hours of community service and write a letter to the local newspaper taking responsibility for their actions.
The District Attorney argued the Spencers knew teens were drinking at a party for their son's championship baseball team last June, and allowed it to happen. The Spencers claimed they did everything they could to stop it but the party grew out of control.
"The community was torn right from the start of this. They had many, many supporters and they also had some people that were unhappy with what happened that evening," said William Childs, attorney for Paula Spencer.
District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said pushing forward with this trial was an important message to send.
"The discussion has been opened up again about underage drinking, people are talking about it, schools are considering policies and this is very much on everyone's mind," she said.
If the Spencers abide by the agreement by August 10th all charges will be dropped.