Courts and Crime

Susan Sharon / Maine

In jails around the country, visits between inmates and their families are being replaced or augmented with video. In Maine, at least three jails have embraced the technology and at least three more plan to do so soon.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The University of Maine is reaching out to 86 employees and students tricked into providing their passwords to cybercriminals.

But the university says its systems weren’t breached or hacked.

The perpetrators of the attack asked employees and students to provide their personal password to access a fake online document. Then the perpetrators used those credentials to access the 86 personal accounts, which means they could have accessed personal financial information like bank account and social security numbers.

BANGOR, Maine - Prosecutors say a Maine man has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for selling counterfeit versions of dollar coins that were used in the U.S. more than 100 year ago.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty says 32-year-old Mwashuma Sithole of Waterville started ordering counterfeit Morgan dollar coins in May 2014. Morgan dollars are a U.S. coin minted from 1878 to 1904 and again in 1921.

BANGOR, Maine - Federal prosecutors say a Canadian man has pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to enter the United States after having been ordered removed.
Fifty-four-year-old John Fraser of Nova Scotia pleaded guilty on Wednesday.
Court records state that Fraser drove a vehicle with Florida license plates to the Calais, Maine, point of entry in November. He first told authorities he was going to his winter home in Florida.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine landlord sentenced to 90 days in jail after a fire killed six people is requesting a new trial.

A judge sentenced Gregory Nisbet for a code violation on Dec. 1, and his attorney requested the new trial in a court filing dated Monday.

Nisbet owned a Portland apartment house where the deadly fire occurred on Nov. 1, 2014.

The judge acquitted Nisbet of manslaughter charges but ruled that he was guilty of a violation related to the home not having adequate means of escape from third-floor rooms.

v1ctor / Flickr/Creative Commons

A national coalition of more than 50 youth development organizations is calling on judges, state and local policymakers around the country to end the practice of youth incarceration. Instead, the National Collaboration for Youth says jails should only be used for a small number of violent kids and that other youth offenders should be placed in community-based programs.

To bolster its argument, the coalition released a report that says there’s overwhelming evidence to show that youth prisons are “harmful, ineffective and excessively expensive.”

Portland landlord Gregory Nisbet will spend three months in jail for a code violation related to the 2014 apartment fire that ultimately killed six young people.

Elizabeth Noble

It’s been nearly a year since we reported on the case of Doug Burr, a Maine State Prison inmate who spent 22 months in solitary confinement in an 8- by 10-foot cell for reasons that he and his attorney say are still unclear.

Bangor Daily News

By Jake Bleiberg, Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — The sentencing of a Portland landlord who stood trial in a criminal case arising from Maine’s deadliest house fire is decades was postponed Tuesday because of confusion over who could speak at the hearing.

New details are emerging in the murder of one man and the death of his apparent killer in a shootout with Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies.

Authorities say that the events began late Saturday night, when 59-year-old Norman Strobel of Naples and a companion arrived at a Casco camp belonging to Strobel’s ex-girlfriend, who had won a protection from abuse order against Strobel. She wasn’t there, but when her daughter and another man appeared at a window, authorities say Strobel opened fire with a 9mm handgun.

LEWISTON, Maine - The Maine State Police Unsolved Homicide Unit is seeking information about the death of a 14-year-old boy in a decades-old fire at a South Paris home. 

State Police spokesman Steve McCausland says there are about 80 names on the unsolved homicides list and that officials are highlighting investigations on the anniversaries of their deaths.

Officials at the University of Southern Maine are investigating what they say is anti-Muslim graffiti found in a student government office at the Campus Center in Portland.

The Latin phrase "Deus Vult," which means "God Wills It," was a rallying cry for Christians during the Crusades and has more recently been adopted by alt-right political activists as an anti-Muslim insult.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Seventeen-year-old Andrew Balcer has been ordered held on charges he murdered his parents, Alice and Antonio Balcer of Winthrop.

Balcer spoke softly, saying "yes" when District Court Judge Eric Walker asked if he understood the proceedings.

Balcer was ordered held in custody by the judge until a hearing Nov. 17 in District CCourt to give time for a psychological evaluation that will done by the state’s forensic service.  

WINTHROP, Maine - Police say they've charged a teenage boy with a double-killing in Winthrop.

Police declined to say whether the boy is related to the victims, Antonio and Alice Balcer, whose bodies were found early Monday at their home. The couple had two sons.

Maine Public Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland says the teenager is due to make an appearance Tuesday in Augusta District Court on two counts of murder. The teenager was being detained at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

OXFORD, Maine - The Oxford Police Department is experiencing a nearly 80 percent increase in calls from the Oxford Casino so far this year.

Police Chief Jon Tibbetts tells the Sun Journal that the department has answered 198 calls between January and October. Police were called for intoxication, drugs and trespassing, along with child abuse and removal of unwanted people.