ELLSWORTH – It didn’t take long for a jury to decide that an MDI man brutally beat, raped and strangled his teen-aged friend a year ago and left her body in a shallow grave.
Jalique Keene, 22, of Bar Harbor admitted on the stand Friday that he was the man seen in video surveillance images carrying the lifeless body of 19-year-old Mikaela Conley.
Keene said he remembered most of the early morning hours of June 1, 2018 when he was hanging out with Conley, his friend and former classmate, but had a “hazy” memory of the hours between 2:30 a.m. and around 7:45 a.m., which is when he picked up his wallet and cellphone from her mom’s home.
The state on Thursday presented video evidence of the two together. One recorded at 7:05 a.m. June 1, shows Keene dragging the body of Conley through the playground of a school in Bar Harbor towards where she was found the following day. All but her hand was buried.
On the stand, Keene said, “it must be me,” adding he recognized his tattoo.
“Either the head trauma or the strangulation … was enough to cause her death,” said Assistant Attorney General John Alsop, who prosecuted the case with Assistant Attorney General Meg Elam.
Shortly after Keene left the stand, a Hancock County Superior Court jury of six men and six women were given the case. It took them less than two hours to decide his guilt.
More than 30 family members and friends of Conley were in the courtroom. They hugged and wiped away tears after the verdicts were read.
“Hopefully this result will bring some closure and healing to the community,” Alsop said, standing on the front steps of the courthouse. “They suffered a great loss here. And you could tell the way this case affected the community was overwhelming.”
No sentencing date for Keene has been set.