Courts and Crime

PARIS, Maine (AP) _ A judge has upheld the vehicular manslaughter conviction of a Maine woman accused of being drunk and reading a text message at the time of a double-fatal car crash.

Jurors acquitted 21-year-old Kristina Lowe of West Paris of drunken driving in May but returned guilty verdicts for manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.

The Sun Journal said a judge on Tuesday dismissed motions for a new trial, mistrial or acquittal.

PORTLAND, Maine — A former teacher at a private school in Freeport who is charged with allowing his property in Lewiston to be used for drug sales has been released on bail.

Noel Thibodeau was released Monday on $10,000 bail and on condition that he live with a family member and get substance abuse and mental health counseling.

The 43-year-old Thibodeau was arrested Aug. 5 and charged in federal court with maintaining drug-involved premises.

Court documents say investigators found Thibodeau had been allowing drug dealers to work out of his home since early 2013.

BANGOR, Maine — A former Maine police chief has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting twin 5-year-old girls he was taking care of.

Carl E. Smith, who was chief in Howland for 13 years until 1988, was held on $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty in a Bangor courtroom Monday to one count of gross sexual assault and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. He has been held on bail since his arrest in May.

The sexual assaults are alleged to have occurred on April 25 at a home in Eddington.

BAR HARBOR, Maine - A Bar Harbor man is facing child pornography charges after Maine State Police investigators found hundreds of images of children on his personal computer.

Authorities say Randal Babiuk was arrested Thursday at the Jackson Laboratories in Bar Harbor, where he works. There is no indication that any computers at the lab were involved.

Babiuk was charged with possessing sexually explicit material of someone under the age of 12.  He was taken to the Hancock County Jail.

The investigation was led by the State Police Computer Crimes Unit.
 

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) _ A Maine judge says a 14-year-boy charged with setting one of several Lewiston fires last year is competent to stand trial.

The Portland Press-Herald reports Judge Rich Lawrence lifted an earlier ruling that found Abdi Ibrahim temporarily unfit to stand trial. Lawrence's Monday ruling clears the way for the case against the boy to proceed.

Ibrahim is charged with starting the May 3 fire in a garage. It destroyed four apartment buildings in the area.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Richmond woman is facing charges after allegedly leaving the scene of an accident she was involved in on Interstate 95 in Augusta.

State police say 29-year-old Adam Brezynka of Winslow was driving a pickup truck south just after noon Sunday when he attempted to pass a Jeep.

Police say the Jeep drifted into Breznyka's lane, forcing him to swerve to avoid colliding. He lost control and rolled several times.

BANGOR, Maine — Three teenage boys have been charged with assaulting staff members at a hospital in Bangor.

Bangor police say the teens attacked four employees at Acadia Hospital on Thursday night. The staff members were treated for minor injuries and discharged from the hospital.

Authorities haven't released details on what sparked the assaults.

Two 14-year-old boys, from Bangor and Jay, are charged with felony aggravated assault and are being detained. A 17-year-old boy from Bangor has been summoned for four misdemeanor assault charges and remains detained.

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) _ A Maine teacher faces federal charges of aiding drug dealers.

The Sun Journal  reports federal and local drug agents arrested 43-year-old Noel Thibodeau on Tuesday and charged him with maintaining drug-involved premises. Thibodeau lives in Lewiston and is a Spanish and French teacher at Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport.

LEWISTON, Maine — A Maine teacher faces federal charges of aiding drug dealers.

The Sun Journal reports federal and local drug agents arrested 43-year-old Noel Thibodeau on Tuesday and charged him with maintaining drug-involved premises. Thibodeau lives in Lewiston and is a Spanish and French teacher at Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport.

U.S. District court documents say drug investigators found Thibodeau had been allowing drug dealers to work out of his home since early 2013. Documents do not say if he was compensated.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine judge has ordered state officials to release a transcript of a 911 call made by a woman whose husband was killed by a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy in April.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Justice Thomas Warren ordered the state Tuesday to give the transcript to the newspaper, which requested it under Maine's Freedom of Access Act. The state denied the request, and the newspaper appealed.

The judge gave the state 21 days to appeal his ruling.

AUBURN, Maine — A Maine judge has handed down a five-year prison sentence to a suspect in one of three major fires in Lewiston in span of less than two weeks last year.

Thirty-one-year-old Brian Morin of Lewiston was sentenced Wednesday in Superior Court in Auburn. He pleaded guilty to three felony arson charges in June.

Three fires in late April and early May last year destroyed nine buildings and displaced about 200 residents. The blazes put people in downtown Lewiston on edge.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine woman accused of stealing more than $70,000 from her boss after he ended their affair has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to repay the money.

The Press Herald reports that 56-year-old Sharon Conley of Peaks Island in Portland was sentenced Tuesday in federal court. She pleaded guilty to fraud and theft charges in April.

If you're the victim of a property crime, a judge can order someone found guilty of the crime to make restitution to you.

"What we found out is that in the long run, that rarely happens," says Marina Villeneuve of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

In a series of articles, beginning today, Villeneuve describes a system that promises too much and delivers too little restitution. I talked about this with Villeneuve and John Christie, editor-in-chief of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine mother busted for driving 124 mph with her two kids in the car in April has been sentenced to six months in jail, and police say she's now facing a driving under the influence charge.

Twenty-six-year-old Cheryl Gilson of Cornish was sentenced Monday in Portland District Court. She pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and other charges.

BANGOR, Maine — A Maine man accused of using a phony Facebook profile to lure a 15-year-old girl to her death is due to stand trial this winter on murder and kidnapping charges.

The attorney general's office says it received notice Tuesday of a tentative trial date of late February.

Kyle Dube, who's from Orono, is accused of creating a fake Facebook profile and using it to set up a meeting with Nichole Cable, of Glenburn, before killing her and hiding her body in May 2013.

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