Courts and Crime

PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine woman has been released from jail after being sentenced to time served for giving a gun to a man who later died in a shootout with police.
The Portland Press Herald reports that 50-year-old Stephanie Knightly of South Paris was released Monday after spending 63 days in jail.
She could have faced up to 10 years for giving the gun to Steven Piirainen, who was killed by police in 2014, but prosecutors said she was not responsible for the shootout.

A man from Harlem, New York has been sentenced to 24 years in prison on drug trafficking conspiracy and firearms charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Perry says Malcolm Cowart came to Maine in late 2011 or early 2012 and, with a group of other individuals, distributed significant quantities of heroin and crack cocaine in the Portland area. Perry says the drugs were brought from the New York by so-called managers who stayed with Portland residents who were paid drugs and money for allowing the conspirators to use their apartments to distribute drugs.

PORTLAND, Maine - A judge has denied a request to delay a hearing on the case of a Maine man who was released from prison in April after new evidence emerged in his 1992 murder conviction.
Judge Joyce Wheeler denied the prosecution's request Thursday, but had left open the possibility of delaying the hearing by one week. The Portland Press Herald reports that Wheeler suggested that the evidentiary hearing could begin Aug. 1 instead of July 24 if Anthony Sanborn's Jr.'s attorneys and prosecutors agree to a one-week delay.

State police investigators continue to try and determine the motive for a triple homicide Wednesday in Madison.

State police spokesman Stephen McCausland said 51-year-old gunman Carroll Tuttle killed his partner and their son at their home. The third victim was killed at a nearby residence.

McCausland said central to the investigation is Harvey Austin, who was wounded.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

MADISON, Maine — Maine State Police say they don’t know what drove a man to kill three people and wound another before being fatally shot in a confrontation with officers.

Spokesman Steve McCausland says detectives are trying to determine what sparked the violence Wednesday morning in the town of Madison.

The spokesman says 51-year-old gunman Carroll Tuttle killed his partner, 52-year-old Lori Hayden, and their son, 25-year-old Dustin Tuttle, at their home. The third victim was 57-year-old Michael Spaulding, who was killed at a nearby residence.

The Maine attorney general’s office says that a federal appeals court has upheld a ruling in favor of the state in a legal challenge brought by the Penobscot Nation over regulatory control of the Penobscot River.

SANFORD, Maine - The Maine State Fire Marshal's Office says three boys have been charged with arson in connection with the fire that destroyed an abandoned mill over the weekend in Sanford.
Fire marshals say one of the boys is 12 and the other two are 13. They are from Sanford and have been taken to the Long Creek juvenile detention facility in South Portland. Their first appearances in court will be scheduled once paperwork is filed. It's not immediately known if they have lawyers.

Doctors, lawyers, dentists, veterinarians, even judges will join the rest of Maine residents eligible for jury duty, under a bill making its way through the Legislature.

The measure started out as an attempt to add nurse practitioners to the list of professions automatically exempted from jury duty. But the legislature’s Judiciary Committee turned the idea on its head and instead proposed to eliminate most of the existing jury-duty exemptions that have been in place for a half-century.

A 50 year old Massachusetts man faces a long jail sentence and hefty fines after pleading guilty today to bank and credit card fraud and tax evasion. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Ruge says Stephen Nygren forged and embezzled 63 checks worth almost $750,000 when he was financial officer of a small business in Brooklin, Maine.

“The bank fraud took place over about 15 months from 2014 to 2015,” Ruge says.

Maine's highest court is sanctioning former York County Probate Judge Robert Nadeau for judicial misconduct.

Nadeau, who last year lost a bid for re-election, has been sanctioned twice before. In a decision on Tuesday the Supreme Judicial Court considered several more recent allegations, from blacklisting former associates from serving as court-appointed lawyers to inappropriately soliciting campaign donations.

Saying previous sanctions had not changed Nadeau's "intemperate" behavior, the court fined him $5,000 and suspended him from practicing law for 2 years.

A judge has denied a request for a new trial from the landlord of a Portland building where a fire in 2014 killed six people.

Supreme Court Justice Thomas Warren ruled the building had inadequate means of escape from third-floor rooms at the house.

Landlord Gregory Nisbet’s lawyer had argued that the prosecution was slow to turn over a memo from the state fire marshal detailing the use of windows as secondary escapes in older buildings.

Coast Guard News / Flickr/Creative Commons

KITTERY, Maine — A U.S. Coast Guard cutter is home in Kittery, Maine, after seizing more than 5,000 pounds of cocaine valued at nearly $70 million.

The Campbell returned Sunday after wrapping up a two-month patrol in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Officials said the Campbell's crew successfully disrupted three narcotics-smuggling operations.

ep_jhu / Flickr/Creative Commons

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is joining an effort by state attorneys general in multiple states to investigate the practices of opioid manufacturers.

Mills said the vast majority of people arrested for possession of heroin or fentanyl say the substance abuse disorder began with painkillers. She said the attorneys general want to know what role drugmakers may have played in creating or prolonging the epidemic.

PORTLAND, Maine - A judge has granted bail for a father charged with murder nearly 38 years after his son's death.
The lawyer for 62-year-old Burton "Ben'' Hagar of Farmington said he was pleased by the development but didn't know if his client had the resources to post bail. The judge on Friday set Hagar's bail at $10,000 in cash, or $100,000 worth of property.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the judge found that Hagar wasn't a flight risk, or a risk to commit additional crimes.

The Maine attorney general’s office is denying allegations that it mishandled a case 25 years ago that resulted in the murder conviction of Anthony Sanborn.

In a motion filed in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Monday, the state is asking that a petition to review Sanborn’s conviction be dismissed. In the 27-page motion, Assistant Attorney General Paul Rucha denies more than a dozen allegations, including that the state withheld evidence and intimidated witnesses in Sanborn’s 1992 trial.