Courts and Crime

Ex-BIW Union Treasurer Says He Stole $281,000 To Feed Addiction

Feb 12, 2018
Linda Coan O'Kresik / Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — A former union official at Bath Iron Works was sentenced Monday in federal court to 18 months in prison and $280,865 in restitution after pleading guilty to embezzling that amount from Local S6 of the Machinists Union, the shipyard’s largest union.

Ryan Jones, 35, of Biddeford told U.S. District Court Justice George Z. Singal on Monday that he was sorry for his actions and offered his “deepest sympathies.”

The fate of an East Millinocket man charged in a murder that took place 37 years ago now lies with a Superior Court judge after closing arguments in the jury-waived trial were heard Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.

Representing Philip Scott Fournier, Bangor attorney Jeffrey Silverstein said the state had failed to produce the forensic evidence necessary to prove his client had killed 16-year-old Joyce McLain of East Millinocket in 1980.

The Cumberland County district attorney dropped action Thursday against nine people arrested last year for trespassing at the Portland offices of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

The senator asked the district attorney to not to charge the protesters — most of them religious leaders — if they agreed to donate $100 each to a victims compensation fund. Members of the multidenominational group were arrested and briefly held when they refused to leave her office to protest her support for a tax overhaul enacted last year.

BANGOR, Maine - Federal officials say a Maine man who led a secretive and large-scale marijuana-growing operation in Frankfort has pleaded guilty to charges.
U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank says 33-year-old Nicholas Reynolds pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Bangor to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The Portland Press Herald reports federal drug enforcement agents conducted a raid on the marijuana farm in 2016, seizing 400 marijuana plants and various paraphernalia used to process marijuana.

Former Maine Deputy Cuts Deal To Have 20 Sexual Assault Charges Dismissed

Jan 26, 2018

Twenty sexual assault charges against former Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III will be dismissed as part of a plea agreement that calls for Hatch to plead guilty to providing a place for minors to consume alcohol.

The Maine Attorney General’s office on Thursday filed the latter charge, a Class D misdemeanor, in Lincoln County Superior Court, according to Assistant Attorney General John Risler, who prosecuted a November case against Hatch.

Thirty-eight years have passed since Joyce McLain’s body was discovered in East Millinocket. On Monday, state prosecutors told a jury that there is no doubt that it was Philip Scott Fournier who killed the 16-year-old Schenck High School student.

Maine Department of Corrections

The Maine Department of Corrections is reporting the escape of a prisoner who left his home confinement without permission around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Robert John Berry, 46, was serving a 16-month sentence for theft that began in May of last year.

Berry was assigned to the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston and could have been up for release as early as April.

The department did not release additional information.

A Portland police officer who was the first Somali native sworn to a Maine law enforcement agency is on administrative leave after she was arrested in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Zahra Abu was arrested in Worcester on charges of assault and battery, trespass, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, according to Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.

A 22-year-old Westbrook man was convicted Thursday of conspiracy following a three-day jury trial in U.S. District Court.

“He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit offenses against the United States, namely the offense of SNAP trafficking and WIC program fraud,” says Assistant U.S. Attorney James Chapman, who prosecuted the case against Abdulkareem Daham.

Illegal methamphetamine makers often turn to college students and others to buy pseudoephedrine for them to make drugs in their home labs. Carlos Gutierrez, vice president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, says it’s a practice that law enforcement calls “smurfing.”

“That’s basically the act of purchasing pseudoephedrine, knowing or unknowingly on behalf of another individual who makes methamphetamine out of it,” he says.

In Maine and many other states, smurfing is a crime, punishable by years in prison.

Biddeford has become the latest Maine city to file a federal lawsuit against several manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

The Biddeford City Council voted earlier this month to join the nationwide lawsuit which is intended to bring some relief to local cities and towns from the costs associated with the opioid epidemic. Those include medical expenses, additional law enforcement and treatment programs.

Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald via AP, Pool, File

PORTLAND, Maine - A landlord who was convicted following a fatal fire in Maine is due to file a brief in his appeals case.
Gregory Nisbet was convicted of code violations stemming from the November 2014 fire, which killed six people in Portland. He then appealed his conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
A court spokeswoman says Nisbet initially had until Tuesday to file the brief and had not filed it by mid-morning. She says he was given a 10-day extension.

State police discovered the bodies of husband and wife Thomas and Michelle Masse in the town of Temple this afternoon.

Police responded to the home after Thomas Masse, 60, called 911 and threatened to shoot himself. State police spokesman Steve McCausland says crisis negotiators attempted to communicate for 2-3 hours, but were unsuccessful.

Police plan to charge a 17-year-old Lewiston High School student with terrorizing following an alleged shooting threat on social media Tuesday night.

Lewiston administrators began hearing from parents and community members about an alleged threat on social media by a student at Lewiston High School on Tuesday night. A screenshot of the message provided by Lewiston school officials suggested that the student’s friend was planning on “shooting up the school.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a conference of New England's governors and eastern Canada's premiers to discuss closer regional collaboration, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Boston.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

A federal judge has ordered Gov. Paul LePage to release about $3 million in federal job training funds to one of Maine’s three regional workforce boards.

The decision comes four months after the governor refused to release about $8 million in federal funds that are intended to go to the regional boards, including about $3 million for Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc., based in Brunswick.

LePage has repeatedly tried to consolidate the boards into one to reduce administrative costs, but those efforts have been rejected by federal officials.