Courts and Crime

Patty Wight / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - A judge has set a bail for a man whose conviction for a 1989 killing has been called into question by new evidence.

Franklin County Jail via Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - A father charged with murder nearly 38 years after the death of his 4-month-old son is due in court.

Burton "Ben'' Hagar was charged with murder after being indicted last week. The death of his son, Nathan, was originally classified as sudden infant death syndrome but the investigation was reopened in 1991.

Hagar was due for his first court appearance Wednesday in Portland.

Maine State Police detectives have arrested a former Brunswick man in connection with the death of his 4-month-old son nearly 38 years ago, a death that was originally investigated as sudden infant death syndrome.

Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland says 62-year-old Burton “Ben” Hagar was arrested Friday without incident at his home in Farmington, where he now lives. McCausland says Hagar is the first person to be charged following an investigation by the new state police Unsolved Homicide Unit.

People in the Maine's Kennebec Valley are being targeted by yet another phone scam.

MaineGeneral spokeswoman Joy McKenna says this time scammers appear to be calling from MaineGeneral Health.

"These calls were trying to get credit card numbers, saying they wanted to make sure MaineGeneral bills are being paid, or to help with debt service," McKenna says.

Some of the calls are automated. McKenna says MaineGeneral does call people for payment on unpaid medical bills, but doesn't use an automated system.  

Tom Porter / Maine Public/file

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents took the unusual step Thursday of arresting a Somali man in a Portland courthouse, where he was meeting with his attorney, raising concerns from his attorney and immigration advocates.

According to his court-appointed attorney, Tina Nadeau, 28-year-old Abdi Ali was in Cumberland District Court to plead not guilty to a misdemeanor OUI charge. After the hearing he met Nadeau in a side room. That’s where she says a man in civilian garb abruptly entered the room.

She assumed he was her next client of the day.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

There was some chaotic court-room drama Monday in the saga of how and whether to punish Black Lives Matter activists arrested in a Portland protest last year. It was the second time an attempt to establish a “restorative justice” alternative ended in disarray.

BURNHAM, Maine — Authorities say an elderly Maine woman has died after an intruder entered her home.

State Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland says 72-year-old Joyce Wood dialed 911 after a woman got into her house early Sunday in Burnham.

McCausland says family members arrived at the scene before the authorities, found Wood and placed her in a vehicle in the driveway. Wood died in the car.

A Gorham woman is facing up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says between Feb. 2014 and Sept. 2016, Jamie Hussey embezzled more than $91,000 from the South Portland Housing Authority, where she worked as a resident services coordinator.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Perry says Hussey stole from a Housing and Urban Development program, the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, that allowed people to earn money for achieving certain goals.

Alaskan husky named Dakota, March 30, 2017, in Waterville, Maine. Gov. Paul LePage said he pardoned the dog from a death sentence levied at a court hearing last week, after it killed a neighbor's small pug in May 2016.
Karen Vance/Waterville Humane Society via AP

Gov. Paul LePage has pardoned a dog.

The unusual move, which is now generating headlines around the country, was taken on behalf of a husky named Dakota with a violent past. Dakota’s owners have been ordered to euthanize her, and it’s unclear whether the governor’s action will spare her life.

The man in charge of running the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland has been placed on administrative leave, according to published reports.

Long Creek Superintendent Jeffrey Merrill could not be reached for comment. But his leave comes after a series of incidents that have raised questions about policies and safety for youth at the state-run prison.

Maine Warden Service

A tip to the Maine Warden’s Service resulted in charges for five hunters from Massachusetts and one from Maine after the group allegedly killed nearly 90 snowshoe hares during an illegal weekend hunting trip to Great Duck Island.

Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Wardens Service said the men were apprehended Saturday on Great Duck, about 10 miles off Mount Desert Island.

BOSTON - Federal authorities say 10 men have been arrested in an interstate opioid trafficking ring in Maine, Massachusetts, and Florida.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston said Thursday a three-year investigation led to the arrests. The men face charges including conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

PORTLAND, Maine - A new report finds gaps and inconsistencies in the sealing of juvenile records in Maine. 

While the juvenile justice system has traditionally emphasized treatment and rehabilitation for young people, limited safeguarding of these records can create consequences for people later in life.  Those consequences include difficulty finding a job, housing or serving in the military.   

A Superior Court judge has found in favor of a Maryland-based trash-to energy company that wants to build a $69 million dollar biogas, organic trash disposal facility in Hampden, just south of Bangor.

Plans are for Fiberright to take over the disposal contract for a group of 187 municipalities in the region currently doing business with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington. Last August, PERC filed an appeal of a decision by the Maine Department of Environment Protection to grant permits for Fiberight’s Hampden project.

Sarah Redmond / University of Maine Sea Grant

A Washington County Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of several shorefront property owners who maintain that rockweed, a form of seaweed, is not a resource that falls under the public trust.

In his ruling, Justice Harold Stewart II concluded that rockweed growing in the intertidal zone is the property of the shorefront owner and should not be construed to be included under exemptions that include fishing.