Courts and Crime

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine senator wants to create a special police unit to conduct drug trafficking patrols on state roads and state entry points.

Sen. David Burns, a Whiting Republican, says the new unit would include at least three state police officers and a supervising state police officer. Burns is a former state trooper. He says the new unit would make it more difficult for dealers to bring illicit drugs into Maine.

SCARBOROUGH, Maine - Scarborough police say a 17-year-old male has been arrested in connection with the shooting Monday of a Scarborough man asleep in his home.

Officials say the juvenile was arrested after police received a report of a suspicious vehicle in the driveway of a residence on Pleasant Hill Road early this morning.  The vehicle was similar to the description of a vehicle that was seen Monday near the home of the shooting victim, Bruce Glidden.

Officers located the vehicle on Black Point Road, operating without tail lights. Inside, they spotted a handgun. 

AUGUSTA, Maine — Late in the last session of the Legislature, Gov. Paul LePage surprised many by proposing legislation that would develop a public defender system in the state.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine fraud unit has released data regarding welfare benefits theft in 2015.

The Portland Press Herald reports the state Department of Health and Human Services' Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit issued a statement Wednesday saying it uncovered the theft of more than $1.2 million in welfare benefits last year.

The release stated that a record 105 welfare fraud cases were brought by investigators to the Attorney General's Office.

LEWISTON, Maine — Maine state police have arrested two people in Biddeford in connection with a counterfeit check writing scheme. The pair are accused of defrauding retail stores in New England of about $100,000 including $30,000 dollars in Maine.

BANGOR, Maine — A man from Maine accused of mailing cyanide to a man in England is due in court to face new charges.

Investigators say Sidney Kilmartin of Windham advertised and mailed a substance he claimed was cyanide to several suicidal people. The substance was actually Epsom salt.

But they say he mailed the real thing to Andrew Denton of Hull, England, to keep him from telling investigators about his moneymaking scheme. Denton used the cyanide to take his life.

WATERVILLE, Maine — A man from Troy who created a police standoff earlier this month when he threatened suicide may now have to pay police for intervening.

Waterville police have issued a summons to Gary Cross, who parked his truck in the Waterville Police Department parking lot on Dec. 7, armed with a gun. Police successfully negotiated with Cross to surrender, but are now charging him with a civil violation for creating the standoff.

Jenna Mehnert of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Maine says the summons doesn't make any sense.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's supreme court justices are planning to do their part to ease a backlog of criminal cases.

A spokeswoman says the seven justices are going to serve as trial court judges this spring to try to put a dent in the backlog.

Mary Ann Lynch, spokeswoman for the Maine court system, says justices have done the same thing at least once in the past. She says the drug epidemic in Maine is playing a role in the backlog. She says drug and alcohol abuse play a role in many crimes.

AUGUSTA, Maine — David Marble Jr. of Rochester, New York, was formally charged with murder today in connection with the shooting deaths of a Maine couple whose bodies were found inside an SUV in Manchester, Maine, on Christmas Day.

Marble faces lengthy mandatory sentences if convicted.

Marble, 29, answered with brief "yes" or "no" responses during his initial court appearance in Augusta, where he was charged with two counts of murder.

Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy explained the charges and the potential terms of imprisonment to Marble.

MANCHESTER, Maine - Investigators in Maine are continuing to conduct interviews and the state police crime lab is processing evidence following a double-homicide in Manchester.

Maine Public Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland said Monday that detectives are following up on a "number of leads" that have come in from the public.

The bodies of 35-year-old Eric Williams and 26-year-old Bonnie Royer were found in his SUV early on Christmas Day. Police say they were both shot to death.

BANGOR, Maine — For crowded county jails in Maine, any program that can safely and cost-effectively reduce the number of inmates is worth a look. At the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor, certain offenders who have a hard time paying their fines are being given an option to do community service work instead.

OXFORD, Maine - Authorities say a Maine drug abuse counselor is among 15 people who were arrested this week on heroin trafficking charges.

The Sun Journal reports that 54-year-old Gregory Ford of Scarborough was arrested Tuesday after an Oxford County grand jury indicted him and several others on the charges.

Authorities say Ford was arrested in his office at Supervised Community Treatment in Portland. He did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

SOUTH PARIS, Maine — Law enforcement officials have arrested 14 people in connection with a heroin trafficking ring in Oxford County.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine's Speaker of the House plans to amend his lawsuit against Republican Gov. Paul LePage that accuses the governor of breaking federal law by blocking his hiring by a school.

Mark Eves, a Democrat, filed the civil lawsuit against LePage earlier this year. Attorney David Webbert says he'll follow through on plans to amend the complaint on Friday. The amended complaint will accuse LePage of also violating state law by blocking Eves's hiring by Good Will-Hinckley, which operates a charter school.

WATERVILLE, Maine — The former principal of a Maine high school accused of asking an 18-year-old student for sex on the first day of school will not appeal his termination.

The Morning Sentinel reports 44-year-old Don Reiter will not contest the Waterville Board of Education's Nov. 16 decision to remove him as principal of Waterville Senior High School.

Reiter's attorney confirmed the decision on Wednesday. School Board Chairwoman Sara Sylvester says she is pleased and relieved Reiter will not appeal.