Archive for the ‘ME’ Category

Maine: Princeton woman, 77, escorts armed intruder from home at gunpoint

June 18, 2009

Machias, Maine

From the Bangor Daily News of June 16, 2009

Princeton woman, 77, escorts armed intruder from home at gunpoint

A 77-year-old Princeton woman faced down a man armed with a sawed-off shotgun and sent him running after she pointed her own gun at him, according to court documents.

Doris Gatchell’s daughter, Eileen Newman, said Monday that family members had since nicknamed their mother “Annie Oakley.”

Suspect Dean T. Moore, who was arrested shortly after the Friday, June 12, incident, made his first appearance Monday in Washington County Superior Court. He faces up to 30 years in jail and fines of up to $50,000 on each of the two most serious charges of burglary with a firearm and robbery. He also has been charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, theft and criminal restraint. On Monday night, Moore remained in Washington County Jail unable to come up with the $15,000 bail set after his arrest.

Doris Gatchell’s daughter, Vanessa Gatchell, 50, was home watching television on South Princeton Road when she heard footsteps in the hallway at about 4:30 p.m., according to court documents made available Monday. Doris Gatchell had just left the house and Vanessa Gatchell thought her mother had returned because she had forgotten something. “She called out, but there was no answer,” according to the affidavit on file with the court.

Vanessa Gatchell went into the hallway and found Moore armed with a gun and a knife just standing there, the affidavit said.

The woman asked Moore not to hurt her and offered him money, according to the court documents. He refused to leave and demanded liquor, the affidavit said. “Ms. Gatchell opened two bottles of wine for [Moore], and he directed her to the front room where they both sat,” the affidavit said.

They talked about 30 minutes during which “he told her he was not afraid to hurt someone and he had used guns and knives before,” the court documents said. At some point during the conversation, Moore discarded the knife, but kept the shotgun, according to the documents.

The woman asked him to leave and said no one would have to know he had been there, but Moore declined to leave, the affidavit said.

Eventually Doris Gatchell returned home. Moore hid the firearm from view as Doris Gatchell entered the front room, the affidavit said. The two women then went into the kitchen, and Vanessa Gatchell told her mother that Moore had a gun and she “thought he was going to shoot them both,” the affidavit said.

Doris Gatchell retrieved her own gun and, according to the court documents, went into the front room and stood behind Moore’s chair.

Eileen Newman told the BDN on Monday that her mother, Doris, had a concealed weapons permit and had a gun “stashed” somewhere in the house. She said her parents at one time owned a sporting goods store that sold firearms. Her father, Ken, is deceased.

Doris Gatchell told Moore she had a gun and ordered him to leave, the affidavit said. “Mrs. Gatchell escorted the defendant out the door. Once on the porch [Moore] dropped his gun and then picked it up again. It was only at that point that Mrs. Gatchell saw the gun,” the court documents said.

The Gatchells then called the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Deputy Michael St. Louis said Monday that when police arrived they at first were not sure whether Moore had run into the woods near the house or had gone back to his home about a quarter of a mile from the Gatchell residence.

Police surrounded Moore’s house and tried to contact him, according to St. Louis, but there was no response. After about 90 minutes, however, Moore stepped out onto his front porch to smoke a cigarette and that was when police arrested him and took him to jail, St. Louis said. Officers found the firearm in Moore’s garage and later recovered the knife from the Gatchell residence, the chief deputy said.

The Maine State Police, the Baileyville and Calais police departments, the Maine Warden Service and the U.S. Border Patrol assisted on Friday night, he said. In court on Monday, Attorney Jeffrey Davidson of East Machias was appointed to represent Moore.

Deputy District Attorney Carletta Bassano said Monday that Moore is expected to appear for a hearing to reassess his bail on June 22 in Washington County Superior Court.

According to the affidavit, Moore has a long criminal history including a prior conviction for robbery and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. In 1998, Moore fled across the U.S.-Canadian border after he robbed a Calais convenience store clerk at knifepoint and stole more than $800. He quickly was apprehended by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, returned to the U.S. and later sentenced to 11 years in prison.


Maine: Kennebunk homeowners thwart would-be burglars by scolding, firing a shotgun

January 30, 2009

Kennebunk, Maine

From the Sea Coast Online of January 29, 2009

Kennebunk homeowners thwart would-be burglars by scolding, firing a shotgun

Quick thinking on the part of a Heath Road couple kept what police say was a late-night burglary at their home from turning into a tragedy.

The frightening ordeal began around 1:30 a.m. Saturday when Judie Martel awoke to hear pounding on her front door.

“My first thought was, ‘Is that thunder?'” she said. “The windows were rattling.”

Running from the couch where she had fallen asleep watching TV, Martel arrived at the door in time to see it splinter and a strange man step through.

“He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him,” Martel said.

She described the intruder as “baby-faced” and “out of it,” and said she did the first thing that came to mind: she scolded him.

“I said, ‘It’s 2 o’clock in the morning! You need to go home to bed!'” she said. “I scolded him like a mother would.”

Then she pushed him back out the door and closed it as best she could.

Looking out the window, Martel could see the man had what she described as a bag of tools with him. And instead of going home, he was headed around to the attached barn.

“I knew the kitchen door was unlocked,” she said. “So I had to decide if I should run and lock it, or go get my husband.”

Martel decided to head upstairs and wake her husband, John. Her next priority was calling 911.

John Martel had slept through everything up until that point.

“I’m a Vietnam vet, so I sleep with a white noise machine,” he said. “When she woke me I grabbed my shotgun and the one shell I keep in the house.”

Running out the kitchen door, John Martel saw that the man had broken into the barn and was heading toward the house. When the man saw John raise the gun, he turned to run.

“I was going to shoot to kill,” Martel said. “But I’ve had enough of killing. I shot over his head and he ran up the road.”

Shortly after, officers from the Kennebunk Police Department arrived on the scene and the man, Sean Barker, 24, of Richmond, was arrested.

Police said the man was attempting to enter a nearby Summer Street residence when they found him.

Kennebunk police called in the Maine State Police and a K-9 unit from Wells, which quickly located a backpack, according to Kennebunk’s Lt. Tony Burpee. Police found an ID for a second man spotted tracks in the snow leading.

At the same time, Burpee said, several residents nearby had called 911 to report two men running through the woods behind their homes.

Officers followed the tracks back to a Summer Street residence where they discovered Eric Wallace, 22, of Topsham, Burpee said. Police said the house belonged to Wallace’s mother.

The two men had been drinking to celebrate Barker’s 24th birthday, Burpee said, and claimed they had mistaken the Heath Road house for Wallace’s mother’s Summer Street home.

But Burpee said it was clear there was no case of simple mistaken identity.

John Martel said it was clear from the footprints in the snow that both men had circled the homes on either side of them before deciding on his home.

“The other two have alarms,” he said, believing his un-alarmed house looked like an easier target. He called the alleged would-be burglars “pros.”

“They had a tool bag,” he said, adding that Barker used a tool to cut through the wood of the door, “and a big, huge backpack to put stuff in.”

Burpee said both men also had police records.

Barker had a 2007 conviction for theft in Livermore Falls, he said.

Wallace faced several theft convictions out of the Bath/Brunswick area in 2005, Burpee said, including burglary of a motor vehicle and a conviction for allowing a minor to possess or consume alcohol.

Burpee said Wallace also had a 2006 conviction for unlawful furnishing of a scheduled drug.

Both men were on Saturday charged with one count of felony burglary and sent to York County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail each. Both are scheduled to appear in York County Superior Court in Alfred on March 9.

As for the Martels, they’ve since had their door repaired and installed new deadbolts. The couple also is considering the installment of an alarm system, guard dog or both, Judie Martel said.

While both called their ordeal frightening, they said they learned a lot from the response from police.

“We couldn’t ask for a more wonderful police station than we’ve got,” John Martel said. “You don’t know until something like this happens.”

Judie Martel said she’s trying to put the incident behind her, looking not at the crime itself but what she considers the positive outcome.

“We were very, very blessed,” she said.

That’s the social worker in his wife, John Martel said, always willing to believe the best of people. He’s finding it hard not to imagine what could have happened, and the very different outcome they could’ve had.

“If they had harmed her,” he said, “I wouldn’t have shot in the air.”

Maine: Theft victim shoots up suspects’ pickup truck

June 5, 2008

Vienna, Maine

From the Sun Journal of June 5, 2008

Theft victim shoots up suspects’ pickup truck

All Joe Lord needed to halt a pair of theft suspects was patience and a shotgun.

The 66-year-old man blew apart a Ford pickup truck Tuesday morning and scared away the couple he said had stolen $3,000 worth of scrap iron, steel and aluminum from his machine shop over the weekend.

Taking aim after more than two days without sleep, Lord shot holes in the front tires of the 2008 Ford F-250, blew out the windshield and rear window and shot up the radiator.

“I disabled the truck,” Lord said Wednesday. “That’s all I did.”

Disabled the truck, forced the suspects to flee on foot and gave police a big head start toward solving the crime, that is.

Investigators from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office said they tracked down the driver of the truck, Elizabeth Evans of Mount Vernon. The truck is owned by her father.

The girl will be charged with theft, and charges are pending against an accomplice, said Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty.

Lord said that after watching his property on Kimball Pond Road for 56 hours straight, he would have aimed for the suspects themselves if he had seen them.

“It’s not my intention to go around shooting people,” Lord said. “But if they had been there, I would have shot them, no doubt about it. I was so exhausted.”

Exhausted, but by all accounts a good shot with a 12-gauge loaded with buckshot.

Lord said he spotted the truck after returning to his shop for a third time Tuesday. It was parked there with a heap of scrap metal in the bed.

“I didn’t do anything until I knew what they were doing,” Lord said. “When I saw my steel in the back of the truck, I knew I had to do something.”

Lord took aim and the disabling of the truck began.

“I blew out the radiator. I shot the two front tires and the windshield. There was some damage to the back window, too,” Lord said. “I put some pellets in the seat. They said I got the water pump and the power steering, but I don’t know about that.”

None of the shots landed in the body of the truck, Lord said, because that was not his intent. He simply wanted the truck to stay where it was, and that is exactly what happened.

And, there were no more thieves milling around his business.

“A 12-gauge shotgun is pretty intimidating,” Lord said. “It echoed for about a quarter-mile down to the lake.”


October 2, 2007

Anson, Maine

We have removed a posting made in December 2006 concerning a Gary Watland. It has been called to our attention that he was subsequently tried and convicted of murder for that shooting.

June 6, 2007

LaGrange, Maine

From the Bangor Daily News of June 6, 2007

LaGrange man detains two alleged burglars

A LaGrange man used a 12-gauge shotgun Tuesday to detain two people who apparently tried to break into the home he is renting on the Bennoch Road.

Guy Shuman, 18, of LaGrange has been charged with burglary and criminal mischief, and charges also have been filed against a juvenile involved in the incident, Sgt. Bill Birch of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday afternoon.

This is the second time in the past few weeks that Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies have responded to a report of a burglary at the home, according to Birch. Police confirmed that the rented residence previously was broken into in late May.

No one was injured in Tuesday’s incident, Birch said.

“[The resident] heard a noise out behind his house around 11:04 this morning when he noticed two people trying to break into his house,” Birch said.

He confronted the two men and held them until law enforcement officials arrived.

Shuman was arrested and taken to Penobscot County Jail where he remained Tuesday afternoon. He is scheduled to appear on July 13 at Penobscot County Superior Court.

The juvenile was released into his parents’ custody.

December 5, 2006

Windham, Maine

From Westbrook’s of December 4, 2006

Windham Quiznos employee defends himself from would-be robber

The Windham police are investigating an attempted armed robbery that occurred at Quiznos Sandwich Shop in North Windham this weekend.

According to police, a black male about 6 feet tall with a thin build approached the assistant manager as he exited the building at about 9:20 p.m. on Sunday. After a brief scuffle, in which the man attempted to steal a bag containing a night deposit from the employee, the suspect fled the scene. The Quiznos employee was not hurt during the altercation.

During the scuffle, police said the suspect pulled a knife on the employee. The Quiznos employee, acting in self-defense, then pulled a handgun, after which the suspect fled the scene.

April 27, 2006

Buxton, Maine

From Portland’s of April 27, 2006

Arrest Made In Buxton Home Invasion

One man is under arrest and authorities are looking for another in connection with a violent home invasion late Wednesday night in Buxton.

Police say they received a call from Mark Luxton around 11:00 P.M.. He reported that two men had come to his home on Parker Farm Road, kicked in the door and fired shots into his bedroom. Luxton says he fired back, and during the exchange of gunfire his dog was shot in the chest.

A couple of hours later police tracked down David Nanos of Portland at Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford where he had apparently gone to get treatment for a gunshot wound to the hand.

Nanos is charged with attempted murder, burglary and criminal threatening with a firearm.

The other suspect is still on the loose.

The dog is being treated at a veterinary hospital and is expected to survive.

December 17, 2005

Rockland, Maine

From the Rockland Courier-Gazette of December 16, 2005

Jury issues mixed verdict in Cushing shooting case

A jury has found a Cushing man not guilty of aggravated assault but guilty of reckless conduct in connection to a Dec. 18, 2004, shooting at his home.

The reckless conduct charge was in connection to the shot Bruce Meklin, 37, fired at the truck of Michael Doughty, 44, of St. George after Doughty already had been shot three times by Meklin following a physical fight.

After the verdict, Meklin maintained he only shot Doughty in self-defense and in defense of his home, and added he fired the shot at Doughty’s truck because he was convinced Doughty had a gun behind the seat.

“I know Mike Doughty,” Meklin said. “He wasn’t backing down. It would have been a shootout.”

Meklin expressed disappointment with the verdict.

“I think I got a raw deal, because I was at my own house,” Meklin said. “I would never have fired the warning shot except I saw him go to his truck and look behind the seat.”

Sentencing is scheduled to take place March 3.

According to testimony heard this week, the pair had argued over the phone the morning of Dec. 18, then Meklin told Doughty to come to his home and settle the matter in person. When Meklin refused to answer the door, Doughty testified, he broke the door and then a physical fight occurred.

After that, Doughty was shot three times, including once in the back, and Meklin also shot at Doughty’s truck as he was attempting to flee.

After they were dismissed to deliberate Thursday afternoon, jurors requested to be reinstructed on several legal definitions: aggravated assault; definition of premises; self-defense; and defense of premises.

Defense attorney Eric Morse attacked the credibility of the victim, who survived the shooting, claiming he had broken into the defendant’s home and attacked him. Morse said Meklin was the victim and had attempted to defend himself and his home.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau acknowledged Doughty had broken Meklin’s door. However, Rushlau said there was no need for Meklin to introduce a gun to the fight, nor to fire at Doughty multiple times.

Doughty called 9-1-1 from the truck and was taken to Penobscot Bay Medical Center. He underwent surgery for his hand and arm. He testified he still does not have full use of his left hand.

In June, Doughty pleaded no contest to a charge of aggravated criminal trespass at Meklin’s home. Sentencing was postponed until after Meklin’s trial concluded.

October 19, 2005

Presque Isle, Maine

From Presque Isle‘s of October 18, 2005

Home Invasion

A truck in a pond, a possible home invasion and a missing person. Those ingredients had law enforcement in Presque Isle hopping this morning.

According to Sergeant Joey Seeley of the P-I-P-D at about eight thirty this morning police received a report of a home invasion on route one. The owner of the home had the suspect, twenty five year old Alex Laferrriere of West Enfield, detained at gunpoint. Once police arrived a search ensued looking for a possible second suspect. A portion of route one was blocked off for an hour.

Upon further investigation it was learned Laferriere and two others were driving down a dirt road off the Doyle Road in Caribou earlier in the day when their truck slid down an embankment into a pond. Laferriere walked for more than two hours to route one. According to witness reports, he then attempted to steal a motor vehicle, and kick in the door of the home.

The second individual walked out of the woods in Caribou. The third person could not be located and a search ensued, as officers were concerned he was still in the woods and possibly suffering from hypothermia. He was eventually located at his home in Crouseville.

Laferriere has been charged with Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief, Criminal Attempt and Violation of Probation.

September 17, 2005

Belfast, Maine

From Bangor’s of September 16, 2005

Jury Finds Brooks Man Not Guilty Of Murder

A man from Brooks who says he was protecting his home and family when he shot his father’s girlfriend is a free man.

Jerome Reynolds II was on trial for murdering Janet Bacon. Reynolds admitts he shot Bacon at his home, but insists it was self-defense.

It took the jury six and a half hours to decide Reynolds is not guilty of murdering Janet Bacon.

When the verdict was read the Bacon family stormed out visably upset over the jury’s verdict. They say the defense portrayal of Janet Bacon as an animal was not true, and say Bacon was a visitor not an intruder in Reynolds home.

The Reynolds family were also emotional as they left court, but none wanted to stop and talk. They followed Reynolds as he was taken in a police car to Waldo County Jail, where he signed out and left a free man. The Bacon family says they will appeal the decision.

“She’s a human being and he shot her in the face, she was my children’s grandmother, and she loved her children and her family and all she was to them was a dog that needed to be put to sleep…and that’s what they did,” says Tammy Walker, Bacon’s daughter-in-law.

Reynolds attorney, Jeff Silverstein says even though his client was aquitted, this case does not set precedent for using guns in the home to ward off tresspassers. He says the prosecution was unable to convince the jury that Reynolds was guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.

“My client felt horrible about what happened, but truly beleived he acted appropriate at the time, I’m certain that he and his family are ecstatic that the jury found as they did and allowed him to return home to his family,” says defense attorney, Jeff Silverstein.