Murder suspect makes first court appearance

James Peaslee's first court appearance was brief. The purpose of his appearance today, according to Justice Harold Stewart, was to advise him of his charges, explain his rights, discuss the next steps in the process, and address the issue of bail.

Justice Stewart told 37 year old Peaslee that he's being charged by the state with the intentional or knowing murder of Paul Hilenski with the use of a firearm on or about January 17th.

Authorities received a 911 call from Hilenski's home in Bridgewater on Wednesday night and arrived to find his body inside. He had been shot and killed.

They arrested Peaslee in Easton early Thursday morning.

Today Justice Stewart told Peaslee he has the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent throughout the proceedings and the right to a trial.

Attorneys Stephen Smith and Jack Tebbetts have been appointed to represent Peaslee, though he appeared via video with lawyer Jeff Pickering.

Assistant Attorney General John Alsop was in the courtroom to represent the state.

Justice Stewart said the next step in the process will be for Peaslee's case to be presented to a grand jury, which he suspects will happen in February or March.

Justice Stewart said if the grand jury returns an indictment, then there will be a more formal arraignment, and at that arraignment he will be called upon for a plea.

Finally, the state motioned for Peaslee to be held without bail and without objection from the defense, the motion was granted.

He's currently being held at the Aroostook County Jail.