Man back in Maine to face murder charge over hit and run

July 27, 2022 GMT

ELLSWORTH, Maine (AP) — A man accused of running over his girlfriend with a vehicle in Acadia National Park and then fleeing to Mexico is back in Maine to face a murder charge.

Raymond Lester, 35, of Portland, made his first court appearance in Maine on Tuesday, hours after his return to the state. He was arrested July 18 in Cancun, Mexico.

His girlfriend, Nicole Mokeme, died last month in the hit-and-run at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor.

Lester, who didn’t enter a plea Wednesday on video from jail, was ordered detained pending a bail hearing at a future date. Steven Juskewitch, one of his court-appointed attorneys, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Court documents indicate Mokeme was last seen near a fire pit late on June 18, and her body was found the following day.

Witnesses reported that Lester’s comments suggested problems with his relationship with Mokeme. They also said he’d been drinking and driving fast and dangerously through the campsite.

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The victim served as creative director of Rise and Shine Youth Retreat, which offers retreats and programs for Black children and adults. She also was one of the organizers of the Black Excellence Retreat 2022, which was in progress at the time of the hit-and-run.

Authorities say license plate readers captured his BMW in several states, including Georgia and Texas days after the killing. Mexican authorities arrested him without incident in Cancun.