Courts and Crime

Nick Godfrey / Maine Public

Philip Scott Fournier will spend 45 years in prison for murdering 16-year-old Joyce McLain in East Millinocket in 1980.

Fournier, 57, was 19 at the time of the killing. McLain’s murder went unsolved for decades before the case was reopened in 2008.

Fournier was sentenced Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.

“It’s never too late to do the right thing but the amount of time that these folks have lived with this case is unconscionable,” says Assistant District Attorney Leanne Robbin.

Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

This story was updated at 11:42 a.m. ET.

The manhunt for the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Somerset County Deputy Sheriff, Cpl. Eugene Cole, continues into its third day.

Woman Who Found Body Of Slain Deputy Helped Raise His Suspected Killer

Apr 27, 2018
Callie Ferguson / Bangor Daily News

NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine — The woman who found the body of slain Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Eugene Cole in her yard early Wednesday morning said she practically raised the man accused of killing him.

Teen Sues Over Detention At Long Creek, Challenging Maine’s Imprisonment Of Youths

Apr 25, 2018
Jake Bleiberg / Maine Public

A Skowhegan teen is asking the state’s top court to overturn his commitment to Maine’s youth prison in a case that claims the state corrections system is incapable of rehabilitating young people.

Last October, the 16-year-old, who is called J.R. in court documents, was sentenced to incarceration at the Long Creek Youth Development Center up to the age of 18 for a series of non-violent crimes, including two charges that were dropped from felonies to misdemeanors.

Kirk Mohney / via National Register of Hisoric Places

CASCO, Maine - Lawyers for two men facing arson charges in a fire that destroyed a historic Maine schoolhouse say the men are intellectually disabled.

The Portland Press Herald reports an attorney for 22-year-old Devin Richardson-Gurney told a judge Monday that the man has autism. An attorney for 20-year-old Edward Scott says the man receives services from an organization that helps the intellectually disabled.

Prosecutors say the two men set the Friends School House in Casco on fire Sunday.

Kirk Mohney / via National Register of Hisoric Places

Fire investigators say they believe vandalism led to a blaze early Sunday morning in Casco that destroyed a one-room school house built in 1849 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"During the investigation of the building and the collection of information we determined that the fire was intentionally set inside the building using materials that were already inside," says Sgt. Ken Grimes, of the state Fire Marshal's Office.

Maine crime victims must now receive notification of a defendant's escape from prison or jail under a new state law.

The law also applies in the case of individuals with mental illness who have escaped from an institution where they've been committed.

Victims must receive information about how the defendant escaped, from where the defendant escaped and when.

Currently, the Department of Corrections does notify victims of such escapes but no law requires such updates.

The bill became law April 15 without Republican Gov. Paul LePage's signature.

Maine courts setting sentences for those convicted of murder will start considering if the victim had also been subjected to domestic violence.

A new law directs courts to weigh whether the victim was a family or household member who had also experienced domestic violence at the convicted person's hands.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, himself a survivor of domestic abuse a child, signed Democratic Sen. Troy Jackson's bill into law this month.

The law will become effective three months from the day lawmakers return to Augusta to consider LePage's vetoes.

A former mechanic for the City of Portland is suing his former employer for gender and race discrimination in federal court.

Wieslaw Sobieraj alleges that co-workers at a city garage verbally abused him with slurs against his Polish ancestry and anti-gay epithets. He also alleges physical abuse at co-workers' hands.

In court filings, Sobieraj calls for reinstatement to his old job, back pay and punitive damages.

The city, which instituted its anti-harassment policy some 30 years ago, has denied the allegations. A settlement conference is set for next week.

Maine legislators have endorsed a bill that could temporarily keep "high risk" individuals from possessing firearms.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday in support of the bill that allows police or family members to seek a community protection order against someone who presents an "immediate and present danger" of injuring him or herself or another person.

The order would need a judge's approval.

A majority of residents have voted to end a Maine town's lawsuit with the state over summer traffic congestion.

The Kennebec Journal reports Wiscasset sued the state Department of Transportation last November, alleging that Republican Gov. Paul LePage backed away from promises and over his assertion the state didn't have to follow local ordinances.

The department said in a statement that it is "gratified" the residents have spoken in support of the state's plan to ease traffic congestion.

A superior court judge says he will not remove state prosecutors from the case of Sharon Carillo who, along with her husband Julio Carillo, is charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of her 10-year-old daughter.

Sharon Carillo's defense attorney, Chris MacLean, had asked for the prosecutors to be removed after a judge ruled they had failed to follow proper procedure in getting Carillo’s school and employment records from New York state.

Westbrook police have made an arrest following a spate of armed robberies across southern Maine.

Police said 38-year-old Travis Card was arrested Friday and his vehicle was seized. Police also searched his Westbrook home.

Police said the operation was a joint effort between the Westbrook, Portland and South Portland police departments, along with the FBI. Westbrook Police Capt. Sean Lally said they are investigating the possibility of a connection to other robberies.

After an emotionally-charged debate, the Maine House passed legislation Thursday that would ban what is called “conversion therapy” for minors. Conversion therapy involves treatments by state licensed professionals intended to change an individual's sexual orientation.

Supporters of the ban argued that the controversial therapy is not supported by science, and that national professional counseling groups have said it is unethical and can be harmful. Portland democrat Rep. Matt Moonen, an openly gay lawmaker, supported the bill.

Both of Maine's senators support President Donald Trump's nomination of a superior court justice to the federal bench.

Trump nominated Justice Lance Walker to fill a vacancy in federal court in Bangor, where District Judge John Woodcock is now on active senior status.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King issued a joint statement praising the nomination, saying that Walker has demonstrated "the intelligence, temperament, and integrity required for this important position."

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