State’s high court upholds conviction in sex-play death

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court Thursday upheld the conviction of a Skowhegan farmer who killed another man during sex play at a South Portland home in 2009.

Malcolm Bruce Lavallee-Davidson was convicted of manslaughter last year in the fatal shooting of 50-year-old Fred Wilson during a drug-fueled sex party in the basement of Wilson’s home. Lavallee-Davidson had said he checked that the gun was unloaded before going to the bathroom and putting the gun to Wilson’s head after he returned. The second time Lavallee-Davidson pulled the trigger, the gun fired.

The main argument by Lavallee-Davidson’s lawyer involved jury instructions. The lawyer argued that the jury should have been told that the prosecution needed to meet a standard beyond a reasonable doubt in challenging Lavallee-Davidson’s assertion that he didn’t think the gun was loaded.

But in a unanimous decision, the justices disagreed. They wrote that the state was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Lavallee-Davidson acted recklessly or with criminal negligence but was not required to disprove that he believed the gun was unloaded.

Lavallee-Davidson is serving a 10-year prison sentence.


Killing of deer approved amid Lyme disease outbreak

Voters in the island town of Islesboro have approved a plan to kill hundreds of deer on the island to stop what has been described as a Lyme disease epidemic.

Islanders on Wednesday night voted 100 to 28 in favor of allowing hunters with firearms to kill about 400 of about 500 deer on the island. The town will cull the herd from about 50 deer per square mile to about 10 per square mile and then work to maintain the lower population levels.

Of the island’s 600 year-round residents, the Bangor Daily News reported that about 70 have contracted the tick-borne Lyme disease.


No personal data released in breach at town computer

Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers said Thursday that it does not appear any personal information was compromised as the result of a security breach in the Central Voter Registration database.

The breach originated in a Millonocket town office clerk’s workstation computer, according to a release.

“As of right now, it appears that no personal information contained in the Central Voter Registration database has been compromised,” Summers said in a release.

“Representatives from my office are working with the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit to conduct a forensic examination of the affected computer equipment.  Once I receive a final analysis of that examination, I will be in a better position to offer more information,” he said.


SAD 6 to vote in September on new superintendent

School Administrative District 6 could have a new superintendent next month.

A search committee has selected Frank Sherburne, superintendent of Waterboro-based Regional School Unit 57, to replace Suzanne Lukas, who resigned in May to become superintendent of Regional School Unit 24, based in Ellsworth.

Mark Eastman, who recently retired as superintendent in Oxford Hills, has been filling in as interim superintendent of SAD 6, also known as Bonny Eagle, which serves Buxton, Hollis, Limington, Standish and Frye Island.

Eastman said the SAD 6 school board is scheduled to vote Sept. 6 on whether to hire Sherburne.

Sherburne has been superintendent since 2008 in RSU 57, which includes Massabesic High School. Previously, he was the district’s director of special education, according to a resume posted on the RSU 57 website.

Sherburne has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts. He has a master’s degree in education of the deaf and hard of hearing from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Southern Maine.


Roaster at Coffee by Design wins in national competition

Dylan Hardman, head roaster at Maine’s Coffee By Design, won first place in a team competition at the national Roaster’s Guild last weekend in Roanoke, W.Va.

Nearly 100 roasters from around the country were divided into teams and tested on three different coffee preparations. Hardman was on a team with other roasters from Seattle, Texas and Oregon.

The winning team was given a Probatino 1 kilo roaster, valued at $16,000, to donate to the farm and coffee-producing country of their choice. Hardman’s team has not yet selected a recipient for the roaster.


Husband, wife arrested in robbery of convenience store

Cumberland County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a husband and wife in connection with last week’s robbery of a New Gloucester convenience store.

Police on Wednesday charged Nicholas B. Fecteau, 26, of Lewiston and Kyleen T. Dennison, 25, of New Gloucester with robbing Cloutier’s Market on Route 100. It was not immediately clear why the couple has separate addresses.

The sheriff’s office reported earlier that at 7:15 a.m. Aug. 16, a store employee was leaving the store to make a bank deposit when she was jumped by a man at the rear of the store. A security video showed the man had been hiding behind a Dumpster apparently waiting for the worker.

Physical evidence collected at the scene and an intensive investigation led police to Fecteau and Dennison. Dennison works for the store.

Each was charged with robbery and Fecteau also was charged with driving after having his license revoked as a habitual offender.

Both were being held Thursday at Cumberland County Jail on $10,000 bail on the robbery charges.

Police did not divulge how much money was stolen or whether any of it was recovered.


Woman indicted on sex charge after Facebook post

Maine prosecutors say a Facebook posting led them to pursue charges against a 29-year-old Bangor woman for allegedly having sexual contact with a 6-year-old child.

Audrey Dam was indicted Wednesday by a Penobscot County grand jury on charges of unlawful sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Roberts tells the Bangor Daily News says Dam was communicating on Facebook with a convicted sex offender and during those conversations she posted comments about the sexual contact.

Roberts did not say how authorities became aware of the Facebook posts.

Dam faces up to five years in prison. Her arraignment date has not been set.


New ‘Open for Business’ sign replaces one stolen in May

Maine is once again advertising that the state is “open for business.”

Almost three months after the “Open for Business” sign was stolen from its position beneath the “Welcome to Maine” sign on Interstate 95 in Kittery, a new sign is in place.

The new sign, installed over the past few days, was paid for with donations from members of Maine’s construction industry.

The original “Open for Business” sign along Interstate 95 in York County, which was installed in March as a symbol of Gov. Paul LePage’s commitment to job creation, was stolen over Memorial Day weekend, according to the Bangor Daily News.


Majority of ‘high hazard’ dams overdue for inspection

A new report says more than half of Maine’s high-hazard dams are overdue for their mandatory inspections.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting says 24 of Maine’s 93 dams are classified as “high hazard potential,” meaning failure or incorrect operation could result in loss of life. The other 69 dams are “significant hazard dams,” meaning a failure could cause property or environmental damage.

The center says records from the Maine Emergency Management Agency show 15 of the high-hazard dams are overdue for inspection. State law requires inspections every two years.

The state doesn’t have any inspection records for six of the dams, either because they haven’t been inspected or because of poor record-keeping.

The agency could produce reports showing on-time inspections for only three of the high-hazard dams.

— From staff and news services